Is next year the one Davide Petrucci breaks through at Manchester United?

Old Trafford 2

Manchester United prospect Davide Petrucci is reported to be close to signing a new deal at Old Trafford.

The question of 'who will break through' is a difficult one to answer when assessing young players, as Manchester United have found out over the years.

The generation of Scholes and Beckham will likely never be repeated, while others like Federico Macheda have flattered to deceive.

Tom Cleverley will have a second go at it after injured aborted his promising 2011/12 campaign, but one striker Sir Alex Ferguson had high hopes for is Will Keane - and he has just suffered a big setback via a cruciate knee injury.

An attacking midfielder who may feel he deserves a chance is Davide Petrucci, and Italian who bounced back from an injury himself and has attracted the interest of Inter Milan.

With Ravel Morrison departed and Paul Pogba about to, eyes will turn to the next players on the Old Trafford conveyor belt of talent.

On that list is the talented Jesse Lingard, but next year could be too soon for him, the returning Robbie Brady from Hull will want to stake a claim, but Petrucci could just be the man.

The Italian is 20-years-old, and it is about time he started making strides towards the first team. He is behind where he should be after two years missing through injury butI he will consider next season as one to make significant progress. It has been reported he is to bat off interest from his homeland to remain in Manchester, and sign a new contract.

He featured in the first team squad last season when United travelled to Spurs, and he is expected to be included on United's pre-season tour, which features matches in Africa and Asia.

With several Euro 2012 stars potentially missing the tour or joining it late, Petrucci may just be afforded the opportunity to impress, and has to take any chances he is given.

Petrucci was signed from Roma as a teenager and has gone onto captain United's reserves. Clearly first team opportunities or a loan is crucial to his progression.

If he can perform well in pre-season he may just stand a chance of being involved. The frugal Glazers would surely love any excuse to avoid spending huge money on an established midfielder.

More likely though is that his slow progression will involve League Cup games. Last season United gave games to Ezekiel Fryers, Larnell Cole and Ravel Morrison, and Petrucci is well placed to follow in their footsteps. Cole is another who will also be hoping to step up.

It is perhaps a little fanciful to expect Petrucci to make his way into the first team next season, a January loan move may later come, but his passing and tackling provide exactly the type of attributes United could do with more of.

His versatility allows him to play behind the striker or in front of the defence, the latter is a position in which United are short of, and the fact he is playing there more regularly now may hint that he is being groomed for the step up into a position where playing time could materialise.

He has said he is open to a loan move, and appears determined to make next season count. United will hope they benefit from the time and money they have invested in him, and unlike Pogba and Morrison he signs a new contract and sticks around to become a success.

What are you hoping for from Petrucci next season?

image: © brostad

Register for MANCHESTER UNITED team updates

Register for HITC Sport - Daily Dispatch