Andreas Pereira
Pereira (left) has started just two games this season but could still make the Brazil squad for Rio. Getty

Manchester United starlet Andreas Pereira has been named in the Olympic Brazil squad for upcoming friendlies with South Africa and Nigeria, boosting his chances of representing his country at Rio 2016.

Pereira, 20, helped Brazil reach the final of the Under-20 World Cup in the summer of 2015 and has remained in the thoughts of his national team's selectors despite struggling for first-team football at Old Trafford.

The attacking midfielder has spent the season drifting between the first-team squad and Warren Joyce's Under-21 ranks, starting just twice for Louis van Gaal's side in a Capital One Cup clashes with Ipswich and Middlesbrough.

While van Gaal has shown no hesitation in handing senior roles to the club's young players, with Cameron Borthwick-Jackson, Guillermo Varela and Marcus Rashford all becoming regular squad players in recent months, Pereira's chance is still yet to come.

His appearances in 2016 have been limited to brief cameo appearances off the bench in FA Cup ties against Sheffield United and Shrewsbury Town, having featured just once in the league – a two minute run-out with his side already cruising to a 3-0 win over Stoke City in February.

The Belgian-born Brazilian told Globo Esporte in February he dreamed of representing his adopted nation at this summer's Olympics, admitting he may have to leave the club on loan to ensure he remains in contention. No loan came about, but Pereira will have his chance to impress when Brazil's young side takes on Nigeria on 24 March and South Africa on 27 March.

10 of the 22 players named in the squad ply their trade in Europe. In addition to Pereira, Bayern Munich star Thiago Alcantara has been named in the squad along with Lazio's Felipe Anderson, who was the subject of a £38.6m bid from Old Trafford last summer.

Should Pereira make the squad for Rio, he is likely to miss the start of United's 2016-17 campaign. Should Brazil reach the final, as they did in London 2012, his earliest possible return date would be the day after the final, which takes place on Saturday 20 August.