Is this the season Andreas Pereira becomes a first-team regular at Manchester United?
That no.6 position looks set to be his preference going forward following a conversation with Jose Mourinho earlier this summer and, on the early evidence, there could be a bright future in that role.
Pereira rose through the Academy as an attacking midfielder, or even an occasional forward, with great technical ability and that comfort on the ball is aiding his form in the middle of the park, where his passing is often crisp and intuitive. Doing the simple things well is among his strengths.
Watch Pereira's amazing free-kickVideo
Pereira’s last appearance, against Liverpool on Saturday, offered a glimpse of his character, too, when he asked senior pro Alexis Sanchez if he could take ownership of a 25-yard free-kick. The Chilean duly obliged and watched with delight when Andreas curled his shot into the top corner.
You can naturally read too much into small moments like that, but there is a feeling that we’re dealing with a more confident and experienced player following those two loan spells in La Liga.
When we caught up with him last summer, on Tour 2017, he spoke eloquently about how that spell forced him to grow as a person, learning to play in senior football while juggling the experience of living alone for the first time. He was lonely at first, he told us, yet the boy soon became a man.
A second move to Valencia followed and, suddenly, Pereira was playing in the higher echelons of Spain as Juan Mata’s former club fought to secure a top-four finish.
“It was a very important year and I learned a lot,”Andreas told us last week.
“I am very happy to be back and I’m ready to play.”
'How I'm learning the no.6 role'Video
Jesse Lingard is an obvious role model to follow, after his fellow Academy graduate matured during several loan moves in the Football League before making his breakthrough into the first-team.
With Paul Pogba and Marouane Fellaini on holiday after the World Cup, plus Nemanja Matic also nursing an abdominal injury, there is clearly a chance to impress.
The remaining pre-season matches against Real Madrid and Bayern Munich should offer more playing time for our flourishing starlet.
After that, who knows? But don’t be too surprised if Andreas Pereira is involved against Leicester City on that opening night of the Premier League season.
The opinions in this story are personal to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Manchester United Football Club.