Federico Macheda is relieved to be back with Manchester United after a nightmare spell in Italy, and believes he can make the grade for Sir Alex Ferguson's side.
Frustrated by his lack of opportunities at Old Trafford last season, Macheda asked Ferguson if he could leave for a short spell and turned down the option of remaining in the Premier League in favour of a stint with Sampdoria. The move turned out to be a disappointment. Macheda failed to score in his 13 appearances, Sampdoria were relegated and no-one emerged with any credit.
Little wonder the 19-year-old is so happy to be back amongst friends, and back amongst the goals after bagging a double in a tour-opening 4-1 win over New England Revolution early yesterday morning.
"I am very happy because I had a difficult six months," said Macheda. "I couldn't wait to get back here from Italy, even though it is my own country.
"There is a different mentality in Italy. They don't see young players like they do in England. They don't tend to choose them, especially when things are not going well."
However, on the basis that anything which does not kill you must be doing some good, Macheda is pleased to have endured the experience.
"I am not scarred by it," he said. "You learn a lot from bad experiences. I grew up as a man. I have another mentality now. When you leave Manchester United, go somewhere else and come back, you realise how different it all is. It is better to work really hard and I hope to stay here."
In addition to Macheda, Danny Welbeck returns from a loan spell and is due to link up with his team-mates in Seattle later today.
Michael Owen has been retained after signing a one-year contract extension and the partnership of Wayne Rooney and Javier Hernandez was potent enough to keep the joint Golden Boot winner, Dimitar Berbatov, out of the side for the big games towards the end of the campaign.
"The problem for all the strikers last year was that the form of Hernandez was just too good," said Ferguson. "We couldn't leave him out, which caused a headache for me."