Andreas: Our Academy is like a family
Manchester United midfielder Andreas Pereira knows exactly what it takes to graduate from the club's famous Academy and become a regular first-team player.
Along with Jesse Lingard, Scott McTominay, Paul Pogba and Marcus Rashford, Andreas has moved through the Reds' ranks in recent years and is now an integral part of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer’s squad.
After a season in which Tahith Chong, James Garner and Mason Greenwood all followed in his footsteps and made their first-team debuts, the Brazilian midfielder spoke to Inside United, our official magazine, about his experiences of playing, training and learning in the Academy.
"They were brilliant. They trained a lot with us. I’ve been in their position so I try to help them as much as I can. It’s great to have them and to see young players coming through at United. It was my dream, and it’s still my dream, and it’s nice to see others doing it. We’re all a big family and at United you can see that everyone can do it if they work hard."
"Yes, I went through it a few years ago when I began training [with the first team] and I got my first minutes with them. So I try to help them [the younger players] so they feel comfortable."
Does it give you a buzz when they make the big step and you’re playing alongside them in the first team?
“Yes, it’s great. To me it’s an honour to play with someone who you have played with in the Academy and have known a long time, and when you play in the stadium with them [for the first team] it’s amazing. We’re like family. It’s a special feeling.”
“Warren Joyce [former United Under-23s coach] always used to tell me you have to work hard and you have to do everything professionally to get into the first team. You can have talent but if you don’t work hard then talent doesn’t do anything. Every day and every training session is a challenge, and in every game you have to show what you can do. You cannot have a day off and think you’ve made it; you have to go for more and more every day. You have to be professional. I try to tell the young players who are coming through the same thing.”
Who were your role models as you came through the Academy?
"I always looked up to Paul Scholes, Giggsy, Wazza and Carras. When I got the chance to train with them you saw how professional they were every day and how hard they work. They were leading examples for me and I hope I can get to that stage one day. I’m trying my best to be the best role model I can be."
Who were your mentors in the Academy, how did they help support you?
"The staff were so important to me when I came to the club from Holland [in 2012, from PSV Eindhoven], they helped me a lot. They made me feel comfortable and told me what I needed to do. Sometimes it’s tough when you come to a new place with a new culture, but you have to keep your head down, work hard and listen to the people here because they know best. You just have to keep learning every day."
Looking back, what was your favourite moment in the Academy?
"I’d say the first game I played with the Reserves, I think it was Leicester City away. I started on the right wing and Warren Joyce told me that I had to keep running in the game... when he said that, I had it in my head that I really couldn’t stop running so I ran everywhere! That’s what he wanted me to do. It was a mental test for me and it got me prepared for the next level."
What three words do you think of when you think of the Manchester United Academy?
"It’s more than three but I’d say: tough, work hard and be happy."
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