Cameron Borthwick-Jackson is looking to make up for lost time and get back to his best as the Manchester United left-back begins his season-long loan at Scunthorpe.
Thrust into the spotlight as a teenager by Louis van Gaal during the 2015-16 season, the defender produced performances for his hometown club that belied his tender years.
Borthwick-Jackson made 14 appearances for United but has since seen his progress stunted, with tough loan spells at Wolves and Leeds making him all the more hungry after joining Sky Bet League One side Scunthorpe.
“On a personal note, the ambition is to get back to where I know I can be and play as many games as I can,” the 21-year-old told Press Association Sport ahead of Saturday’s season opener at Coventry.
“But as a collective, I want to help the team push for promotion and obviously give the fans something to be excited about along the way.
“I probably do better when I have a run of games and get into my stride.
“When I was at Wolves, the first game I played I got man of the match and the next game I was in the stands, so it was a bit of a strange one.
“Obviously when (Paul) Lambert came in, he had his reasons for not wanting to play me.
“I don’t think I was his type of player, he preferred others and I think that was the same sort of scenario at Leeds.
“So, I feel like this manager (Nick Daws) has faith in me. He’s going to give me the chance and hopefully I can repay that by good performances.”
Borthwick-Jackson managed just 13 first-team appearances across his loans with Wolves and Leeds – a challenging period for a player who can count a win at Liverpool and Champions League appearance among career highlights.
“I think you’ve got to take positives out of the negatives because there’s only one thing that could have made me and that is stronger mentally,” said the defender, contracted to United until at least 2020.
“I know how to deal with setbacks and knocks, and I just have to find a way to overcome them.
“Hopefully this season I can push on and show the fans what I am about.”
Glanford Park could scarcely be more different to Old Trafford but Borthwick-Jackson’s excitement at joining Scunthorpe is clear, especially with manager Daws exuding the kind of belief that he felt during his United ascendancy.
“I felt I did well when I first broke into the first-team,” Borthwick-Jackson said.
“I felt like I had two managers who showed a lot of faith in me. They kick-started my career.
“The first being Warren Joyce, who helped me out through the U23s, got me as fit as a butcher’s dog because I was running for days.
“Then Van Gaal, who showed a lot of faith in me, throwing me in must-win games and Champions League away at Wolfsburg, stuff like that.
“I don’t speak to him at all now, but he’d have his staff having one-to-ones with you after games, telling what you did good, telling you what you did bad.
“He’s very proactive in terms of that and helped me out a lot.”
Current United boss Jose Mourinho tries to “keep in touch regularly” and Borthwick-Jackson knows the club are constantly keeping tabs on him.
The defender “would like to think” he can still make his mark at the club he joined aged six, with left-back Ashley Young – the player he replaced in United’s win at Anfield in 2016 – among those acting as inspiration.
“It’s crazy,” Borthwick-Jackson said. “The consistency he shows and how committed he is to the game is just something that I look at and think ‘that’s what I need to be doing’.”
Put to him that the likes of Young and Luke Shaw provide quite the competition, he added: “Yeah, but I feel when I get back to my best, then hopefully I can be challenging.”