Having led England to the semi-finals of this summer's under-19 European Championships, Matty James is now relishing the chance to start a full season on loan at Preston North End.
Noel Blake's England were outclassed by Spain in Normandy earlier this week, freeing up James to rejoin Darren Ferguson's squad ahead of the new Championship season. After shining in a short-term spell at Deepdale earlier this year, the talented young midfielder has his sights set on a memorable campaign.
"I’m really looking forward to it," James told ManUtd.com. "Last season it was great to get the experience of playing in the Championship, and when the opportunity came around again I felt I needed to go out and hopefully play 40 or 50 games in the league, as opposed to maybe one or two Carling Cup games. I felt that it was better to get more experience.
"There were talks at the end of last season but nothing concrete was decided, then as last season finished I signed a new contract and at the start of this season Sir Alex told me he wanted me to go out on loan and asked me if I agreed.
"I did, Preston came in and I jumped at the chance to go back there. It makes it a lot easier for me going to a place where I know what the Gaffer expects and what the players are like. It’s just over the hill for me to travel in, I don’t need to move home and that really helps."
James has already trained with his North End team-mates, heading to Marbella for a week-long training camp prior to joining the England squad, and he loved the experience.
"That was my first proper pre-season away with a first team squad," he said. "That in itself is an experience and I felt it went really well. The training was quite hard but I needed that at the time and it was a great team-building exercise too to have all the lads there. That’s key, to get to know everyone throughout the trip itself."
After a week of hard yards in Marbella, plus a starring role in England's campaign, James is hopeful of being fighting fit for the new season with Preston.