Jose Mourinho identifies three Manchester United youngsters as future first team regulars

by Leo Nieboer

Jose Mourinho has tipped Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay and Demetri Mitchell to have big futures at Manchester United.

Pereira enjoyed a fantastic loan spell with Spanish side Granada last season and displayed real signs of promise starting at No.10 against Real Madrid last Sunday.

Mitchell and McTominay both made their first senior starts against Crystal Palace in May and have continued to work with the first team during pre-season.

And Mourinho, speaking after the win over Madrid, noted that the aforementioned trio would become regulars in Man United’s first team.

“The reputation is the reputation,” Mourinho said. “But the other day I found myself in the tunnel before the Real Madrid game and, I’m not talking about the second-half because they were kids who were 15 or 16 during my time there, but in the first-half more than half the Real team, which is their first-team because they were only missing Ronaldo and Ramos, all these guys started with me and had debuts with me.

“They came into the first team with me, they trained with me when they were 15 and 16-years-old. Nacho, Casemiro, Carvajal, Morata. Morata was not there, Marcelo was 20. Almost all of them.

“So probably in a few years Man United will also have half a dozen of these kids [in the team]. I think Scott (McTominay) and Demetri (Mitchell) are also kids to have a future in the club and Andreas Pereira is back.

The most obvious name out of these three is, of course, Pereira: the Brazilian is now 21 and, following a season of battling at Granada, blessed with a hardened, workmanlike spirit, capable of breaking the lines at No.10 and causing damage out wide. He has featured in the first team before and deserves game time this season.

Mitchell, on the other hand, has only made one senior appearance for United and hasn’t featured much in pre-season. But anybody who saw him shut down Wilfried Zaha back in May will tell you that the 20-year-old possesses a natural kind of tenacity and discipline required to succeed at this level. The way he transitioned so seamlessly into the Premier League was deeply encouraging – reminiscent, I dare say, of the Da Silva twins.

For me, however, McTominay serves as the most interesting prospect. There is something about the way he handles the ball that makes him stand out. Always keen to drive forward, acutely aware of what surrounds him, nimble in tight spaces and, most of all, extremely comfortable in possession.

The exact nature of his role under Mourinho remains unclear, but the Portuguese’s decision to use him frequently in pre-season – as well as against Arsenal alongside Axel Tuanzebe back in May – suggests the Portuguese has a plan for him, and supporters will hope to see more of him in the first team next year.

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