Barnsley boss Lee Johnson is upset to have lost Ben Pearson after he returned to Manchester United and had nothing but glowing words to say about the young midfielder.
Pearson spent some time on loan at Barnsley this season and went on to create a fantastic impression with the League One club.
For those who watched Pearson play with the U18s and U21s, it comes as no surprise to hear Johnson speak so highly of his physical and mental maturity as a player.
“I love Ben to bits… I think he’s a fantastic talent,” Johnson said.
“All I can do is thank him for the effort he’s put in.
“One day hopefully when he’s writing his book after a great career he’ll mention us all.
“I’ve thoroughly enjoyed our part in trying to develop him not only technically as a player but also mentally. He’s maturing all the time.
“If you look at the last two performances they’ve been really mature and stronger physically.
“If you’d have dropped him into a game like that a year ago he might have struggled but now he’s come through it.
“Technically he’s fantastic, his range of passing has improved and he’s a great kid.”
Pearson’s a fantastic prospect and now is when I want to see him get his big chance at Man United. Johnson explains exactly why – he’s clearly matured a lot thanks to his loan spells and improved as a player overall.
There isn’t another midfielder like Pearson at U21s level. He’s tenacious, committed and unselfish in a role in which he sweeps up, stops the opposition and brings his team-mates into play. He’s the sort of player which every team needs.
At 21, Pearson has bided his time and enjoyed a strong loan spell at Barnsley but he’s now back at United and at a time where van Gaal is giving so many youngsters a chance, Pearson is fully deserving of an opportunity.