"Shola Ameobi has played in the [Barclays] Premier League for years so you know if you're playing against him, you're probably good enough to play in the Premier League. I see it as a challenge to yourself and the whole back four coped reasonably well."
Last year's Reserves Player of the Year has been included in a couple of first-team squads this term and is clearly forcing himself into Sir Alex Ferguson's thoughts.
"I've been training every day," the England Under-19 international continued. "Working hard and getting fitter every day so it's going well.
"When you go on tour and play a few games, it gives you a good taste of first-team football and it just makes you want to play more when you get back. I know there's probably only going to be one or two opportunities because of the players involved but I can't think like that. I've just got to work hard every day in training and prove I'm good enough to play and, hopefully, get picked.
"A lot has happened in the last year but it's been good experience for me. I keep stepping up a level and, hopefully, that will keep happening and I can progress with England and keep getting my chances here in the first team."