Manchester United are set to hand Will Keane a first team berth after recalling him from Preston, where he was on loan until the end of the season. The 22-year-old scored two goals in the 22 games he has played in the Championship, but may soon find himself being thrown into the deep end, if youth team coach Tommy Martin is to be believed.
The Red Devils are likely to field a depleted squad against Sheffield United in the third round of the FA Cup at Old Trafford, with Louis van Gaal looking to give his players some much needed break after a harrowing stretch of fixtures during the Christmas period. The Red Devils turned their fortunes against Swansea City, after going eight games without a win in all competitions.
Keane returned to the United setup for their U-21 game against Tottenham Hotspur, which they won 3-1 and is likely to start training with the first team in the coming days. The forward was voted United's young player of the season in 2010, but has not managed to progress as much as expected, missing the 2012/13 season with a knee injury.
Since then he has been sent on loan to Wigan, Queens Park Rangers and Sheffield Wednesday where he has impressed in brief stints. "I think that's the idea of him coming back from Preston, that hopefully he'll be involved with the first team more than the U21s," Martin said, when asked if the club were planning to use him in the first team, as quoted by Sky Sports.
Andreas Pereira is another player who is being touted to break into the first team after scoring twice against Tottenham on Monday. The Red Devils are extremely thin on the attacking front, with Wayne Rooney and Anthony Martial struggling to live up to expectations. Memphis Depay, who started the season in great form, has trailed off since, leaving Van Gaal to look at internal solutions to keep his season on track.
Pereira has been training with the first team squad, but is yet to get a concerted period on the pitch, for which he had asked to be inducted in the youth team for the game against Tottenham.