UTD Podcast: Petrucci's praise for Hargreaves
Italian midfielder Davide Petrucci recalls his six years at Manchester United during the latest episode of the UTD Podcast.
Petrucci made the switch from his boyhood club Roma in 2008 to join United’s Academy, where he lined up alongside the likes of current Reds midfielder and World Cup winner Paul Pogba, but he never featured for the first team.
Plagued with injuries, Davide went on loan to Peterborough, Royal Antwerp and Charlton Athletic during his final three years with the club, making 21 appearances before moving to Romanian side CFR Cluj. Now aged 30, he currently plies his trade for Hapoel Be’er Sheva in the Israeli Premier League.
As you will hear when you listen to Petrucci's episode of the UTD Podcast - available now in the United App - he remains appreciative of the support he had from fellow midfielder and current BT Sport pundit Owen Hargreaves, during some tough times in the treatment room.
“One person very important to me was Owen Hargreaves,” Petrucci said. “Not many people put him at the same level as Giggs, Scholes and Ferdinand, but for me, he was a top player and a top person.
“When I was injured, he was also injured, unfortunately for him, but I remember him always smiling. Every day [I would] go into the gym, he was helping me through this and he always faced these bad moments with a smile on his face.
“I saw him, and I said, 'I want to be like this, I want to be happy.' He was making me focus on the positive things in life, not on the negatives.
“The positivity he had for everything was amazing for me and he was really unlucky with his injury because he was an amazing player and an amazing person.”
Petrucci was a highly rated 17-year-old when he joined the Reds from Roma, having risen through the youth ranks at his hometown club.
The Italian's first coach at United was Paul McGuinness, another person he has kind words for on the podcast.
“He was very important for me, and for the team,” said Davide. “The passion he had for the club was amazing.
“He would not only train us but also teach us about the history of the club. I remember him showing us movies of George Best, Bobby Charlton, all of them.
"It was not only about football [for him], it was also about the history of the club.”
Petrucci also outlined the key differences between United and Roma, explaining that he learned very quickly that he needed to adapt to a new style of football.
“The intensity I found here was completely different,” Petrucci said. “Roma is a huge club, but United is the biggest.
“There are only four or five clubs like this, it’s something else. I found it different, but you need to adapt.
He added: “The first team, reserves and Academy were all together. Okay, not training together, but spending downtime together.
“This is something really, really important because it makes you feel part of something. Everybody goes in the same direction.”
Unfulfilled potential? Had Petrucci not been plagued by injuries in his time at United, who knows what he could have achieved…