Andreas Pereira has received his first call up to the Brazilian national team ahead of their games against USA and El Salvador next month.
The Manchester United academy graduate has previously represented his country at every level between U-15 and U-23, playing for the U-20 side in the World Cup three years ago. Pereira scored in the final against Serbia, kissing the badge on his shirt in celebration, in a match they unfortunately went on to lose 2-1.
Pereira has shown how dedicated he is to improving his game and becoming the best when spending the last two seasons out on loan in La Liga. Last year he defied Jose Mourinho’s wishes by joining Valencia, when the manager had told him he wanted him to stay.
The midfielder knew he would get more playing time out on loan so left anyway and is reaping the rewards from that now. Pereira claims that he has learnt a lot over the past two years and his relationship with the manager is in a good place.
“I’m more professional now, I know what my body needs every day, I’m more mature now than I was two years ago,” Pereira said this week. “They’ve been really good for me, I think I’ve totally changed as a player and a human being after these two years. It was very difficult for me to take that decision. Like Mourinho is one of the best coaches in the world, and he tells you to stay, and if you go against it you’ve only got things to lose in your head really. I was nervous about that, but it came out well. We had a great year in Valencia, and I am a better player, and this season he has a better Andreas than he could have had last year. I have a very good relationship with him, he is very good with me, very honest.”
Pereira played in United’s opening game of the season last week as they beat Leicester 2-1, which was his first start in the league.
“I don’t want to go without bringing a message about Pereira,” Mourinho said in his post-match interview. “He was on the bench as a right winger at Valencia and came to Old Trafford as a number 6 and played phenomenally.”
Mourinho has historically proved a tough manager to impress so to single out the Brazilian for praise says a lot about Pereira’s performance.
Pereira has played in 66 games over the past two seasons and has obviously done enough to impress Brazil’s manager, Tite, in this time.
However, there had been rumours that the midfielder may have opted to play for Belgium, the country of his birth. His father is Brazilian but was never called up for his country, although was playing in the Belgian Pro League when Andreas was born.
As well as Brazil’s youth teams, Pereira played for Belgium at U-16 and U-17 level. With time going by without formal interest from Brazil, there had been rumours that Roberto Martinez had been looking at the player and was considering offering him the chance to play for the country of his birth. However, he made his desire for Selecao clear in 2015 when saying, “my heart is Brazilian.”
Now the 22-year-old is set to realise his childhood dream as Tite looks to the future of the Brazil team. He has also seen his decision to go against Mourinho’s wishes vindicated.
Playing in midfield alongside compatriot Fred, who has also been included in the recent squad, Pereira will be hoping to stake his claim in the starting line-up for both his club and country.
Another milestone will be actually getting out on the pitch and playing for Brazil, which you imagine will happen at some point in September even if as a substitute.
United fans will be watching eagerly as they see the player who joined their club at 15 take the next big step in his career.