Royal Antwerp manager Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink hopes that the link between United and his club will continue, following the loan signing of Davide Petrucci.

“I work for Antwerp and they want to keep that link,” Hasselbaink said. “I’m going to enforce that. I’m going to enforce bringing youngsters over from Manchester United to us because a) I think it’s good for the relationship and b) I think it is good for my team as well. It’s always good to give youngsters the opportunity to play minutes. In the past, we’ve had a lot of Manchester United players – Danny Higginbotham and several others – and, when you speak to them, it has benefited them to come over and just stand on their own two feet and play matches. I think it’s a good thing.”

Hasselbaink has sung the praises of our young player and is impressed with his start at the club.

“He’s an extremely gifted football player,” enthused Hasselbaink. “He’s a good midfield player, highly technical, who played his first match for 70 minutes and did really well. He’s going to be a big asset to our team. I’d seen lots of DVDs about him and seen how he plays and how he likes to play. I spoke to him before he came here and I spoke to Warren Joyce about him on several occasions. He is my type of player – a creative midfielder who can release the ball for the strikers and create something for himself as well. I like those kind of players.”

Petrucci was on loan at Peterborough last season and is looking forward to more experience of first team football in Belgium.

“I’m looking forward to this experience,” he said. “Hopefully I can do well and, together, we can do something good. Obviously, my coach was Warren Joyce and he spoke about Antwerp a lot so I know lots of things about it. From what he told me, it’s a good team and crazy fans, in a good way, so I can’t wait to start. I didn’t know him [Hasselbaink] before I met him but everyone knows about him and it will be good to work with him. Hopefully, he can teach me something good and I can learn.”