Joel Castro Pereira: I want to compete with David de Gea and Sergio Romero

by Tanveer Arayan

Manchester United youngster Joel Castro Pereira has insisted that he is ready to feature for the first team in the event of injuries to David de Gea and Sergio Romero.

Pereira returned to Man United in December following a loan spell at Rochdale, where he impressed for the League One side.

The 19-year-old made the substitute’s bench under Louis van Gaal against FC Midtjylland in the Europa League clash in February and he believes that he benefitted from the experience.

“It was a great experience to share the dressing room with great players. I’ve had a taste of what is to be in the team,” Pereira said.

”Yes, it’s a little different from playing in the reserves. There were 75,000 people in the stadium and, even on the bench, I only thought about how it would feel to play in front of so many people!

When asked if something changed for him after that, he said: “For me, it hasn’t changed. I always work the same way, but now I have to be more focused, more prepared. Now, I know that if anything happens to De Gea or Romero, I can go to the bench, so I have to always be ready to play.

“[I’m much better] mentally and physically. I learned a lot with the spell at Rochdale. It was a very good experience for me because I could play with adults, a completely different style of football than I was used to, much harder, more aggressive. It is one level above the U21s. It was one of the best things that could have happened to me, I grew up a lot.”

Pereira can only expect to play if Romero or De Gea get injured and that is a big if.

However, he is still very young and in the early stages of his development and he wouldn’t have been expecting too many chances anyway. Perhaps another loan spell or two would serve him well in the long run.

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