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Manchester United’s failed midfield Italian job

by Sam Peoples

When Manchester United signed Davide Petrucci back in 2009, there was a buzz around his arrival at Carrington as he joined from Roma with a real air of expectation.

The midfielder was considered an extremely talented prospect and moved to United with a real reputation as a playmaker with bags of ability despite his young age. It looked like United had brought a real gem into the academy. Unfortunately, it hasn’t quite worked out how it was expected to.

Injuries marred his progress at United and it wasn’t until 2011 that he was able to have a decent run of performances in the academy where he was fantastic. They earned him the captain’s armband for Warren Joyce’s side but he was plagued by injuries over the next few years.

To Petrucci’s credit, he battled through the injuries and was rewarded with a loan spell at Peterborough where, after what was a brilliant impact at the start of his move, his loan curse struck again. He had terrible luck with injuries. It always seemed like it was a case of one step forward and two steps back.

Surprisingly, this year he was loaned out to Royal Antwerp in the Belgian second division and instead of stamping his identity on the side, he has struggled to get into that team as well – although, he did get on the score sheet this month for the Belgian side recently (skip to 1:00).


To go from being considered one of United’s best midfield prospects to sitting on the bench in the Belgian second division is quite some fall and Petrucci has had such a tough time of it with injuries. It is a real shame given how strong a prospect he was considered but as he is 22 years old and no closer to a spot in United’s first team, it seems that Petrucci is a player we’ll never get to see flourish to his full potential.

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