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Belgians eye Januzaj emulation

Manchester United youngsters Andreas Pereira and Charni Ekangamene are hoping to follow in the footsteps of Adnan Januzaj and make David Moyes' starting line-up.

Last Updated: 30/12/13 at 17:25 Post Comment

Andreas Pereira, Marnick Vermil, Charni Ekangamene and Adnan Januzaj: Belgian qu

Andreas Pereira, Marnick Vermil, Charni Ekangamene and Adnan Januzaj: Belgian qu

Belgian-born playmaker Januzaj has stolen the headlines at Old Trafford this season, with the 18-year-old making 13 appearances and scoring three goals in the Premier League.

Witnessing the rise of Januzaj has given compatriots Pereira and Ekangamene inspiration as they pursue their own first-team ambitions.

Pereira, who joined the Old Trafford youth system in 2012, was one of four Belgians to feature in the United reserves' title win last season, before earning the best player award in the Milk Cup.

Now, the 17-year-old is looking to cause selection headaches for first-team manager Moyes.

"I'm hoping to finish this season in the reserve squad, but you never know what happens," he told Het Laatste Nieuws.

"Next year I would like to join the first-team squad in pre-season. That's my objective. If I succeed in it, I'll be happy.

"2013 was a good year for me. I'm performing above expectations as I already got promoted to the Under 21 squad."

Attacking midfielder Pereira was quick to dismiss comparisons with Januzaj, claiming he is ready to forge his own route through the United ranks.

"Some already compare me to my countryman Adnan Januzaj," he added. "A compliment, but I'm not his successor. I'm making my own way."

Experience

Meanwhile, fellow reserve-team midfielder Ekangamene was handed an unexpected call from Moyes' assistant Phil Neville before Christmas, asking him to be prepared for United's trip to Villa Park.

"Two weeks ago I got a message that I had to be ready," he explained in Gazet van Antwerpen.

"They expected me in the players' hotel for the game against Aston Villa. Phil Neville called me and confirmed I was part of the squad.

"Finally, I wasn't on the bench, but it was still a positive experience."

Ekangamene admits it took some time to settle in to life in Manchester following his transfer from Royal Antwerp in 2010 but insists the addition of Januzaj brought comfort and familiarity.

"I had a difficult few months when I joined, but the transfer of Januzaj, a year later, did me well," he said. "We are friends.

"All the stars in the team know me. We eat together and make jokes.

"In the club they compare my playing style with that of Claude Makelele. I'm technically strong, but don't hesitate to kick a ball in the stands, if needed."

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I

think all those names linked to United exits make sense. Kagawa has never really looked like hitting the form he had at Dortmund and Fellaini is radioactive after last season (even though I think he's been unfairly singled out for criticism). Nani and Anderson have had more than their fair share of chances so they are done, and Hernandez deserves better than warming a bench.

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H

e'll be off to Spurs (or better) in January and I don't blame him. Looking forward to re-signing Grant Holt as his replacement though.

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Benteke ignoring speculation

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n fairness, he does look absolutely shattered in that photo.....

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