‘Former Manchester United man Ben Pearson’. How many times is North End’s new No.4 going to have to read that in a match report, interview or article during his career?
It’s a moniker that players seem to carry for a long time, more than after leaving any other club in the land, but the 21-year-old is happy to start afresh. He had 12 years on the books at Old Trafford, but is now looking to plant his feet!
“I really wanted to settle down somewhere; to find somewhere which I can call home,” he told The One And Only earlier this week. “I want to play first team football on a weekly basis. Somewhere permanent was my aim and I couldn’t be happier where I’ve ended up.
“It’s probably the hardest decision that I’ve made [leaving Manchester United]. I think you’ve got to let go when the time is right.
“I know some players that hang onto their dream of playing for United, but I knew now was the time to leave. I think it’s hard to let go, I needed somewhere to settle which was away from that environment where I wasn’t getting chances.
“I looked above me and thought that I wasn’t going to get a chance in the near future. I needed to be playing games and when this opportunity came up, I couldn’t not take it. It was a hard decision, but I think for advice to people is to let it go sometimes.
“They [United] have got an abundance of money and if you’re not the best in the world, then you can’t get in, because they’ll just buy, so it’s a near on impossible job. You’ve got to be something special to break in or get that slice of luck that you need sometimes, and unfortunately for me, I didn’t get that luck, but for me it’s a building process now to get back to the top.
“For me, the only way I would have got a chance would have been because of the lads ahead of me got injured. But say one of them got injured, there was always another few midfielders to step into his place, so it would have taken two or three injuries for me to have just got on the bench.
“If you get that chance and take it then you’re fine, and in the manager’s picture, but without that chance, you can’t prove that. If you’ve been a defender for the past two years at United then you have had those injuries and had a chance, and then you never know what can happen. Even if you leave you can say I’ve had a chance, but that’s the most disappointing thing for me; the fact I left without even being given a chance.
“I’d like to think I can get rid of that name tag ‘former Manchester United player Ben Pearson’, and make a name for myself.
“It’s that name tag that sticks around only really with United; even if you’re at Manchester City or Chelsea it gets forgotten about, so I think it’s a testament to United how well the club is thought of.
“You get that pedigree of playing for Manchester United, so I think that will probably stay with me forever. But I would like to be called Ben Pearson of Preston North End, but I think that takes a few years to get rid of in the near future and that sort of name tag will start to go.”
Ben misses this weekend’s game and the trip to Wolves, having picked up his tenth yellow card of the season in Tuesday’s draw with Derby, but you can read plenty more from his in this Saturday’s edition of the matchday programme.
There are also interviews with fellow new boy Liam Grimshaw, Daniel Johnson, Calum Woods and Callum Robinson in our latest edition of The One And Only. We also have 13 pages of content about the visitors and much, much more crammed into the 84 pages of perfect bound content – on sale for just £3 from the Friday afternoon from the Club’s retail store or inside and outside the ground on matchday.