Former United striker Rossi

Rossi: How England changed me

Wednesday 03 November 2021 15:15

During his recent UTD Podcast appearance, former Reds forward Giuseppe Rossi reflected on when he first arrived at Manchester United as a 17-year-old, back in 2004.

Despite having to make the transition from playing in the youth ranks at Parma in Italy, the native country of his mother and father, Rossi enjoyed a relatively smooth start to life on the pitch upon touching down in the north west of England for the first time, 17 years ago. 

American-born Giuseppe first went into the Reserves at United and was immediately labelled as one to watch, having won the Jimmy Murphy Player of the Year and the Denzil Haroun Reserve Team Player of the Year awards during his first two seasons at the club. 

The former Italy international would also go on to make his professional debut in November 2004 in a League Cup tie against Crystal Palace and, although he appeared to take to English football rather nicely, there were some things that a young Rossi had to adjust to at first.

UTD Podcast: Rossi reflects on his United debut


Rossi speaks about the first time he pulled on the famous red jersey at senior level, back in 2004...

Giuseppe, now 34, described what some of those things were on his episode of the UTD Podcast, which released earlier this week and is now available to listen to via the Official App and all other podcast providers.

“The intensity was times 10,” he tells co-hosts David May, Helen Evans and Sam Homewood.

“It was something I wasn’t accustomed to. I don’t think I played against an English team in the youth [side], so I was really not used to it, not even on the national team level. 

“I picked up a lot of things. I know if you’re not as intense as they are, one, you’re going to get hurt and two, they’re not going to respect you. So, I had to make sure that was something I had to do. 

“When I went back to the Under-21 national team after a few months with Man United, I used to wear studs and in Italy you don’t wear studs. They barely wear studs,” he adds.

“So, every time in training I had studs and I would step on them by accident, and they would be cussing me out. 

“Like, ‘what the hell you doing? You and your English style, go back to England! I’m like: ‘bro, I have to be like this if I want to be part of the group’. So, it was a big culture change, but I loved it.”

One player who Rossi spent a lot of time with on international duty for the younger age groups was Juventus and Italy defender Giorgio Chiellini. 

During the podcast chat, our former forward reveals an amusing change the Euro 2020-winning centre-back noticed about Giuseppe many years ago, following the forward’s move to United.

“I grew up in the ranks with Chiellini and in the Under-21s when I would slide tackle in the 'keep-aways', nobody would be doing it and Chiellini would come up to me and be like, ‘England changed you, man, and I love it’."
Rossi: What Chiellini said to me Video

Rossi: What Chiellini said to me

How did coming to England as a youngster impact Giuseppe? Former Italy team-mate Giorgio Chiellini has a theory...

In the episode, Giuseppe goes on to speak about the affection he still holds for the club that he joined as a 17-year-old and, of course, the United fans.

“They were awesome,” Rossi says.

“They’ve always supported me, they still do today. I only played 16 games with Manchester United, but they still show me so much love, even today. 

“It just shows how much they love the club, I’m sure David [May] gets stopped every single second, they always remember the players if you play hundreds of games like David, or 16 games like me. 

“I came back to train last year, a year-and-a-half ago with the guys and people were like, ‘wow, Giuseppe’ and I was like: ‘you guys still remember me? Wow, okay, cool’. I had to leave a bit of a mark I guess.”

Listen to the full Giuseppe Rossi episode of the UTD Podcast now via the Official App.


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