Joel Pereira originally signed for Manchester United in 2012, from his youth club in Switzerland. The Swiss born goalkeeper was spotted as a young talent, and as well as Manchester United spotting him, so did the Portuguese football federation.
Choosing to play for Portugal rather than Switzerland at U17 level, Pereira has gone to represent the country at all the following youth levels to U20.
The 20 year old hasn’t been known in Portugal because he hadn’t come through their system, so when the chance came for a loan, it seemed a natural destination.
Speaking to Portuguese newspaper O Jogo, Pereira was asked why he ended up at Belenenses this season, and the youngster explained: “I always watched the Portuguese championship. As I am in the (national U20) squad, I thought it was a good opportunity to show myself in Portugal.
“There is De Gea, who will play in most games, and also Romero. They are goalkeepers with experience, something that I do not yet have. Stay, train with the first team and play in B would be the same as the last two years, where I won twice in the reserves. I need to play and get competitive experience.”
Pereira is correct in that there seems no way through at Manchester United right now, and he’d need to hugely impress in Portugal to even be considered as second choice in the future. At only 20 years of age there’s plenty of time for the situation to change, and Pereira to see some sort of opportunity at Manchester United.