Seven fringe players to impress in pre-season: Moreno, Pereira & more

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Liverpool, Manchester United and Arsenal fringe players have all impressed in pre-season and could be ready to step up to make their mark in the first team next term.

Pre-season is an opportunity for players to show their manager that they’ve come back ready to compete for a place in the starting line-up, and a chance for people to work out who to place their bet on for the Premier League title with BetVictor football betting odds in mind.

With that in mind we’ve picked out a few players that have given themselves a chance with a solid pre-season showing…

Andreas Pereira – Manchester United

“I’m very happy I’m back and be part of this team. I’ll try to do my best to stay here and to help my team-mates and impress the manager,” Pereira announced to MUTV during their tour of the United States.

And it seems like Pereira has got his wish with reports indicating that Jose Mourinho has shelved plans to send the youngster – who spent last season at Granada – out on loan.

The Belgium-born midfielder has only represented the Red Devils in 13 senior appearances previously and has reportedly been the subject of several enquiries from clubs this summer.

The 21-year-old has featured in pre-season matches versus Real Madrid, Barcelona, Manchester City, LA Galaxy, Real Salt Lake and assisted Romelu Lukaku’s headed goal against Norwegian side Valerenga.

Alberto Moreno – Liverpool

Moreno looks to have played himself back into Jurgen Klopp’s thoughts after an impressive performance in Liverpool’s 3-0 win over Bayern Munich in the Audi Cup.

The summer arrival of Andrew Robertson from Hull coupled with James Milner’s form at left-back last campaign looked to spell the end for the Spaniard at Anfield.

Klopp, however, has now opened up a door for the 25-year-old after he provided the assist for Mohamed Salah’s header against the Germans.

When asked whether Moreno had a future at Liverpool, Klopp responded: “If he plays like he did today, yeah. That was a really good game by Alberto.”

Brahim Diaz – Manchester City

In Diaz, Manchester City have a star that could step up to first-team duties sooner rather than later.

The Spain under-19 international announced himself on the Citizens’ pre-season tour with a thunderbolt to round off a 4-1 victory over Real Madrid.

He collected the ball 40 yards from the Real goal, surged into the gap in their defence before cutting inside to bend a beautiful shot into the top corner before scoring for the second time in pre-season with a cheeky effort against Spurs.

The strike oozed class and it certainly won’t have gone unnoticed by his compatriot Pep Guardiola.

Diaz’s performances in City’s youth team were rewarded with a 10-minute cameo in an League Cup victory over Swansea last September, and the 17-year-old will be hoping his impressive displays ahead of the new campaign will give him an opportunity in Pep’s plans.

READ: Everything you need to know about Manchester City starlet Brahim Diaz

Scott McTominay – Manchester United

Manchester United youngster McTominay scored his first senior goal during the club’s 3-0 friendly victory over Valerenga.

The 20-year-old was singled out for praise after the match by Jose Mourinho’s assistant Rui Faria, who said: “Scott is a good professional and a talented kid, so he knows what he needs to do to have a career and a proper future.

“We can see that playing football is something that he loves. The tour was very important for the kid because it helps his motivation and belief.”

Learning from the likes of Michael Carrick and Paul Pogba in training has seen steady development from McTominay while – much like Marcus Rashford – it is clear the gym sessions over the summer have worked to bulk him up.

He made his debut off the bench against Arsenal last campaign before starting United’s final game 2016-17 match in a 2-0 win over Crystal Palace. He’ll be hoping for more of the same this term.

Reiss Nelson – Arsenal

Following his exploits in pre-season, Arsenal fans are calling on Arsene Wenger to play Nelson from the start of the new campaign. And, with Wenger having a history of giving youth a chance, his first-team bow could be on the horizon.

Wenger said recently: “Since I’ve been in the game I’ve understood that you either have that [confidence] at 17 years of age or you don’t.

“Some of the players I’ve had in my career have turned 18 and it seems natural for them to be on the pitch. They just think ‘let’s play’, and Reiss behaves like that.”

The 17-year-old has revealed that Mesut Ozil has been mentoring him throughout pre-season, with the Germany international offering him guidance and advice about to how behave on and off the pitch.

Nelson featured for the Gunners in both the FA Youth Cup and UEFA Youth League last term and is an England under-18 international.

Declan Rice – West Ham

Rice has admitted his rise to prominence with West Ham in pre-season has been a “bit mad”. He captained the Hammers’ under-23 side to promotion last season before making his debut as a 91st-minute substitute in a 2-1 win at Burnley.

Days after his debut, Rice was called up to the full Republic of Ireland squad to complete a year of meteoric rises for the 18-year-old. The former Chelsea youth player was selected by manager Slaven Bilic to join the West Ham squad on their tours of Austria and Germany, where he has featured in all five of their fixtures.

“I think I have done very well,” said Rice “I have been very happy with myself in training and I think I have made an impression in games.

“My next target is to start in the Premier League, that’s what I am aiming for. I’ll play wherever the manager puts me, centre back or centre midfield, I don’t care.”

Joselu – Stoke City

Two goals for Joselu in Stoke’s 4-2 friendly loss to St Pauli means the striker has now scored five goals in 157 minutes since returning for pre-season.

The Spaniard spent last campaign on loan at La Liga outfit Deportivo la Coruna and his days at Stoke had looked numbered.

However, Potters boss Mark Hughes has been impressed by Joselu and admitted that the door is not closed on his future at the Bet365 Stadium.

“He’s a certain type of striker,” Hughes said. “He’s clearly not the kind of guy who is going to be battering around throwing elbows into defenders. But he’s an intelligent forward, a clever player who makes good runs. He’s doing very well at the moment.”