For several years it seemed as though Davide Petrucci would make the leap from United wonderkid to first team star.
It never quite happened for the Italian, who United snapped up from Roma in 2008 when he was a teenager.
In Rome he was inevitably compared to Francesco Totti and even at United this expectation was impossible to live up to.
Petrucci left United in 2014 without playing a first team game, signing with Romanian side CFR Cluj. This followed loan spells with Peterborough and Charlton.
Speaking this week to Tuttomercatoweb, Petrucci says he would not have swapped his United experience for anything.
He said: “It was incredible in Manchester, there were champions like Cristiano Ronaldo, Rio Ferdinand, Scholes and Giggs, without forgetting about the best coach in the world, Sir Alex Ferguson.
“At the youth level I have achieved almost all the possible goals, I have been captain of the reserve team and I have won practically everything that was to be won.
“With the first team I went on tour in South Africa and China, during which I was able to to debut, but also some squads in the Premier and Champions League, even if in that case the debut did not come in.
“At the time it was almost impossible to assert itself in a club like that, I’m still happy with how it went and still today I feel lucky to having played in Manchester United.”
What is Petrucci up to now?
Petrucci developed from more of an attacking talent compared to Totti when he arrived, into a deep lying midfielder while at United.
He lasted two seasons at Cluj, where he finally started to play regularly. He made 69 appearances in two seasons, scoring seven goals.
This led to a move in 2016 to Turkish Super Lig side Caykur Rizespor, who he has since made 58 appearances for.
Petrucci is happy in Turkey but admits he wants to return to Italy one day.
He said: “It’s now the third year I’m here, I’m very good in Turkey, the Süper Lig is a good championship, you play big stadiums with crazy fans. Italy is still my country and I would certainly like to come back one day.”
He almost returned to Italy before while he was at United. The midfielder said he was close to signing in Serie A before Sir Alex Ferguson stopped it.
Petrucci recalls, “I was very close to Genoa, then to Parma, but I remember I was on holiday and Ferguson sent me a text message saying: ‘I would be happy if I renewed and I went on tour with us’. I could not say no.”
The Italian is a regular in Turkey but his contract is up at the end of the season. Perhaps he will finally make his move back to his homeland then.
His time at Old Trafford did not quite reach the heights many hoped for. Even so, it is great to see the forme academy star enjoying a successful career elsewhere.