JOEL PEREIRA is hopeful his loan spell at Hearts can help him prove he can make the grade back at Manchester United.
The 23-year-old goalkeeper has joined the Jambos on a season-long deal and, if international clearance is received in time, could make his debut in Friday night’s Betfred Cup clash with Motherwell.
The Portugal under-21 cap joined United aged 16 and enjoyed his debut in an FA Cup win over Wigan Athletic two years ago before making his Premier League bow in a 2-0 victory over Crystal Palace.
The Swiss-born goalie was backed in his move north by United and Spain number one David de Gea, who told him to ‘enjoy the experience and prove how good you are’.
And Pereira is determined to make the most of his time at Tynecastle as he eyes a future alongside De Gea and Sergio Romero at Old Trafford.
Speaking of United, he said: “It’s been a fantastic journey so far, from the moment I joined the club. I was 16 years old and a little boy dreaming of playing for the biggest club in the world.
“And I had the chance to do it! I made my debut at Old Trafford and it’s been amazing, and I can’t wait to keep going.
“Now I’m here, my focus is to do great at this club and hopefully I can go back to Manchester United stronger and better and more confident than ever.
“To make my debut was a special moment. It was a dream come true to play in the Premier League for the biggest club in the world and hopefully there will be more opportunities to come.”
Pereira was give positive feedback on Scottish football after picking the brains of United team-mate Demetri Mitchell, who has had two loan stints at Hearts.
And he is now relishing the prospect of a fight with Zdenek Zlamal and Colin Doyle for the number one spot at Tynecastle.
He added to Hearts TV: “I have friend – Demi Mitchell – who played here previously and I spoke with him about the club and the league, and he told me a lot of positive things.
“I’m very happy to be here, the team welcomed me very well, and the staff, and I’m looking forward to getting started.
“It’s always good to have competition and there will be respect between us, we are team-mates. But we will all be fighting for the same spot and then the decision is up to the manager.”