Davide Petrucci retains his ambition of breaking into the Manchester United first team after joining Royal Antwerp on loan.
The cultured midfielder is following in the footsteps of many Reds over the years, including current centre-back Jonny Evans, who cut his teeth in Belgium before a couple of temporary spells at Sunderland.
After enjoying sustained success at Reserves and Under-21 level over the past few years, the 21-year-old is determined to impress for his new club with a view to catching David Moyes' eye in the long term.
"I spoke to Jonny and he told me good things about Antwerp from when he was here," explained Petrucci in an exclusive interview with ManUtd.com. "So that was probably one of the reasons I came here plus the manager is Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, who was a great player. That was an extra motivation for me so that’s why I came.
"I am at the age where I need to play. Reserves football is fantastic when you are young but for us, me especially, I played there for a few years and won everything every year. I needed that step up. I couldn’t do more than we have done already.
"I think it’s not easy for David Moyes because he’s just arrived and needs to have more focus on the first team. It’s understandable but I need to think about myself and try to play as well as I can. Hopefully, he will see that and I will come back."
Petrucci was unlucky to miss the end of last season due to injury after beginning to shine at Championship side Peterborough in another loan deal.
The Italian shrugged off the disappointment to prove himself as one of Warren Joyce's top performers again during the close season, scoring against Ross County and Manchester City.
"I felt good," he stressed. "I’ve had a few injuries in the past and, if it doesn’t kill you, it can only make you stronger. That’s