With each round of the FA Cup this season, some Manchester United fans have wondered whether Andreas Pereira would be given a chance in the first-team, either from the start or from the substitutes’ bench.
But first against Yeovil Town and then against Cambridge United, manager Louis van Gaal opted to play his tried-and-tested stars rather than give a highly-rated youngster a chance.
Pereira’s current contract at Old Trafford expires this summer, and when you consider he has only made one senior appearance at the club – in the 4-0 defeat to MK Dons in this season’s League Cup – the chance of him staying for the long-term looks relatively slim from an outsiders’ perspective.
United take on Preston North End on Monday evening in the fifth round of the FA Cup, and following his match-winning performance for the under-21s against their Chelsea counterparts last week, now could be the moment Pereira is finally given another chance by his manager.
He is yet to feature in a match-day squad in the FA Cup, while he has been an unused substitute five times in the Premier League this season, but the longer he goes without a chance to show what he can do in the first-team, the more questions will be asked about his future.
After all, van Gaal has shown that he is not afraid to thrust young players into the action, with great success in the forms of Paddy McNair, Tyler Blackett and James Wilson, but Pereira looks no closer to his breakthrough.
And when you consider his position on the pitch and the players ahead of him in the pecking order at United, Monday’s match could be the last realistic chance to see him turn out for the first-team this season...and possibly ever.