MANCHESTER UNITED’S arrival in Chicago on their pre-season tour, where they are holding a training camp, is particularly poignant for John Thorrington.
The 30-year-old former Town midfielder had a spell at Old Trafford between 1997 and 1999 after impressing on trial.
However, he failed to make a first team appearance and moved on to Huddersfield and Grimsby before returning to the United States.
Now playing the past five years for the Chicago Fire, he recalls his time at United with fondness.
Thorrington said: "I certainly would make the exact same decision.
"Looking back it sounds crazy, but that was 12-13 years ago and I can still draw on those experiences now. It was invaluable.
"The style of play gets trickled down from the top. You are taught to play exactly as the first team.
"Obviously the pace of the game and everything is faster the higher up you go. So that when you do hopefully make that step up you are prepared for it.
"I got an offer based on a tryout I had one summer.
"I didn’t realise it would lead down the path it eventually did.
"It had always been my dream but I didn’t know how realistic it was. But then once I got the offer, saw the place and got the blessing of my parents, I went for it."
Thorrington has nothing but respect for United manager Sir Alex Ferguson and added: "It is so hard to be as successful as he has in almost three or four different eras with totally different teams.
"Just in my two years there I can see exactly how that has happened.
"As I look to my future and see however I am involved in soccer, I think that experience of seeing him up close would be invaluable for me."