New Hearts defender Demetri Mitchell admits he draws inspiration from rubbing shoulders with the likes of Zlatan Ibrahimovic at Manchester United.
However, the 21-year-old insists joining Hearts on loan until the end of the season can be his springboard to spending more time on the Old Trafford pitch with United’s band of superstars.
The 21-year-old has embarked on his first temporary transfer after failing to build on his debut appearance for Jose Mourinho’s side in the May 2016 victory over Crystal Palace.
United under-23 manager Nicky Butt was more than happy to give his blessing to the England youth cap making the move to the Gorgie outfit and the player is hoping he can be the answer to Hearts’ long-standing left-back problems.
Mitchell still has aspirations of making a name for himself at the Theatre of Dreams but hopes a regular run of competitive football can be the making of him.
The full-back, who flew in to Spain to watch his new team-mates draw 1-1 in yesterday’s friendly with Dutch side Vitesse Arnhem, said: “Hearts got in touch with United because they have been looking for a left-back and I seemed to fit the bill for them.
“They spoke to Nicky Butt and he said it would be a really good place to go and I’m looking forward to it.
“This is a good place for me to go out on my first loan and progress my career.
“It’s exciting because I want to be playing men’s football, learn and hopefully show people what I can do.
“Although I haven’t played again for United since my debut, I was away with the first team for pre-season and have trained with them sometimes.”
Mitchell, has been capped at England at all age groups from under 16 to 20, added: “It’s inspirational to train alongside guys like Zlatan Ibrahimovic and the other first-team players at Old Trafford.
“Being around players of that calibre gives you the motivation to go on and achieve the things they have in their career.
“You watch how they go about things and try to learn from them as much as you can.
“The senior players at United are great with the younger ones, they are always on hand to give advice if you are looking for it.
“Everyone looks after each other and the ones who have come through the academy, like Jesse Lingard are also really good because they know what it’s like.”
Mitchell admits making his full debut in the 2-0 win over Palace at Old Trafford was a huge thrill.
He added: “I am a Manchester United fan and I was born and raised walking distance from the stadium.
“So it was special making my debut for the club against Palace.
“The manager just brought me in and told me that, although every game is important, there was no pressure on me.
“What you see if what you get with the manager.
“It was the end of the season and I really enjoyed it.
“Obviously I hoped it would lead to more opportunities at United but that hasn’t happened, so that’s why I was so keen to go out on loan.”
Mitchell, who is set to face German side Nuremberg at the club’s Oliva Nova base today, could be handed a baptism of fire in the January 21 Scottish Cup fourth round visit of city rivals Hibs.
Manchester City defender Ashley Brown-Smith’s loan is set to be cut short this month due to injury and Mitchell hopes he can be the reliable left-back that Levein has been craving.
He added: “I have been told Hearts have been needing a left-back for a while so hopefully I can help out with that.
“My aim is to play as much as I can and help the team finish the season strongly.
“I don’t mind pressure, football is full of it and it’s something I try to thrive on it.
“I am comfortable with it all, it’s something that doesn’t bother me. I see it as a positive instead of a negative.
“I know the first game back after the break is in the Edinburgh derby so it will be up to me to impress enough so the manager picks me.”