Tom Thorpe is hoping to follow the path of Scott Wootton and Michael Keane into the United first team.
The 19-year-old has seen his fellow Under-21 squad members feature for Sir Alex's side this term and took advantage of their absence to show his talents against Sunderland recently. After coping admirably with the threat of Connor Wickham and Ji Dong-won, the FA Youth Cup-winning captain is keen for more chances to prove his worth.
When asked if his aim was to emulate Wootton and Keane, he told MUTV: "Yes, definitely. I think seeing them doing it makes you realise it's not that far away and you will get the opportunity to go on. Hopefully, I can keep progressing and do that.
"I think it's a lot about experience maybe - especially for Scott who has gone out on loan and has understood his role completely now. I probably just have to keep working hard, play well when I get the chance and show people what I can do."
The goalless stalemate against the Black Cats' Under-21 side was most notable for the defensive aspects of the game and Thorpe was pleased on that front.
"We defended well as a team against difficult opposition," he stressed. "We could have done better with the ball but I think we did brilliantly defending as a team. It was not an easy task against Connor Wickham as he's got a lot of experience which is always going to help him. He's a big lad and can handle himself well plus he's got a good eye for goal too."