Barnsley boss Lee Johnson has declared his delight at bringing Manchester United midfielder Ben Pearson back to Oakwell for a second loan spell.
The 20-year-old put in a series of superb performances in the second half of last season as he cemented a place in the Reds’ starting line-up, turning out 22 times in the centre of the park.
Johnson thinks very highly of the talented young star already, and highlighted his belief that he will be a key component of his squad in the upcoming campaign.
“He’s important to us, I can’t stress how much I rate the boy,” Johnson admitted. “I think he’s a fantastic player.
“It’s great to get a player at this level that can play with both feet and with a range of passing, not just neat and tidy, but a range of passing and can manipulate the ball.”
Pearson’s time at Oakwell last season was his first taste of first-team football, and although he is full of praise for the England youth international, Johnson is keen to stress that he still has plenty to learn.
“Last year he was fantastic. He gained an identity by having a consistent spell of playing men’s football, and he earned that because he deserved it through good performances.
“If he actually listens to me I’ll make him even better,” he joked. “It’s getting him to listen that’s the problem.
“He is improving and he enjoyed his spell last year. I’m delighted to have him back because there were three or four Championship clubs that wanted him, and I’m pleased he chose to come back.”
As Johnson continues to shape his squad for the new season, midfielder James Bailey’s contract was terminated by mutual consent this week.
The 26-year-old joined last summer after being released by Derby County, and made 29 appearances for the Reds in all competitions.
Bailey still had a year left on his contract, but Johnson had placed the former Crewe man on the transfer list earlier this summer, and having been unable to secure a move away from Oakwell, he is now a free agent.