Andreas Pereira has urged Paul Pogba to stay at Manchester United and play a vital role in shaping the futures of the club's emerging young players.
Pogba wants to quit United for Real Madrid this off-season but neither the Spanish giants nor former club Juventus have yet to make a bid for the France midfielder and there are doubts over whether either wants to meet his £160 million-plus valuation.
United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer said this week that he can provide Pogba with the "new challenge" he craves and Pereira has become the first teammate to speak out on the issue, telling the club's record £89m signing that he is like family and is pivotal to their hopes.
All six of United's goals in their two pre-season tour wins against Perth Glory and Leeds United were scored or assisted by academy graduates in a welcome boost for Solskjaer at a time when there is disillusionment among supporters about the club's activity in the transfer market and the make-up of the squad.
And Pereira says Pogba is crucial to the development of the likes of him, Marcus Rashford, Scott McTominay, Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Axel Tuanzebe and James Garner, as well as young recruits such as Daniel James and Aaron Wan-Bissaka.
"It is great [to train and play with him] — just in the group, he is a great person," said Pereira, 23, ahead of United's International Champions Cup (ICC) game against Inter Milan in Singapore today.
"It will be very important if he stays with us. He is a very good player and top class as a person.
"I learn from him every day. He is one of my closest friends, I have been here with him since 16, so he is like family to me. I might have to steal his phone so he doesn't speak to anyone."
On that subject, former United captain Bryan Robson has told Pogba he needs to stop paying attention to his agent, Mino Raiola.
Raiola has reiterated Pogba's desire to leave Old Trafford and is trying to engineer a transfer, 12 months after the Frenchman was denied a move to Barcelona, but Robson says it is important the player is not influenced by others.
"He'd be in my team all the time," said Robson, a club ambassador who arrived in Singapore from Perth on Thursday with the team for the second leg of their off-season tour.
"One thing fans should realise is sometimes agents get involved and say things that don't come from the player.
"Players should concentrate on their own careers and make their own decisions rather than rely on agents.
"It's your career — you do what you think is right. He's a great player. He should concentrate on that. He's contracted to Manchester United and he should concentrate on playing for Manchester United."
Pereira signed a new four-year contract with United this month and the midfielder is eager to repay the show of faith.
He held talks with Solskjaer after a glaring error cost United a goal in their 2-2 draw against Burnley in January but the manager has since said that Pereira and McTominay will be tasked with filling the void left by Ander Herrera's departure for Paris Saint-Germain and the Brazilian is determined to prove his worth.
"It was difficult, but after the mistake, I was doing well," Pereira said. "The manager spoke with me, I had to sit down, it was difficult for me but I came back with the goal against Southampton.
"I feel strong, I feel that I can step up. I feel that I have to take my chance now and I will be ready to take it this season. I have a lot more to show."
United, meanwhile, are already taking precautions to ensure there is no repeat of the pitch debacle they faced on their previous visit to China in 2016 ahead of next Thursday's ICC tie against Tottenham in Shanghai.
United's friendly against rivals Manchester City at the Bird's Nest in Beijing had to be cancelled due to the state of the playing surface.
City were frustrated by what they perceived to be United's lack of urgency to rescue the game at the time but United have left no stone unturned on this occasion.
Staff have already made four visits to Shanghai since November and they have been receiving weekly reports from Relevent Sports, organisers of the ICC tournament.
It is also understood that United groundsman Dave Lindop will fly to Shanghai from Singapore ahead of the team to ensure the pitch at the Hongkou Stadium is in order, with thunderstorms forecast in the city early next week.