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Giuseppe Rossi: Talentspotter

When I was at Parma I was known as 'Beppe', which is just a shortened version of my name. So far I haven't been given anything new by the boys at United.

Club supported
I followed my Dad's lead and supported AC Milan. He's taken me to the San Siro a couple of times and I have loved the atmosphere there. It is the sort of place you just know you have to play at one day. Other teams I support the New York Knicks in the NBA as I grew up not far away in New Jersey.

I see myself as a technical player, who likes to get on the ball and be creative. I hope I can set up chances for my team-mates and score goals myself.

I'm only 17 years old, so I still have a lot to learn. I wish I had a few more inches of height, but I'm still young, so maybe I'll have a growth spurt and get them soon.

I might have been young at the time, but I loved the great Milan side of the early '90s. Just watching old footage I get inspired by Ruud Gullit and Marco van Basten. They were both masters at what they did. These days I admire Andriy Shevchenko for how clinical he is in front of goal, and since I've been at Manchester United, you can't help but be inspired by Ruud van Nistelrooy. What a player.

I play a bit like...
A few people have told me Raul. We're both lefties – by that I mean left-footed players – and operate upfront.

Career highlight
I would nominate two moments. The first was winning the reserve championship at Parma last season, and the second was signing for Manchester United in the summer. I couldn't stop smiling when I learned they were interested in me.

I was born in the USA to Italian parents and then we moved to Italy when I was 12 years old, so I had the choice of playing for Italy or the USA. I chose Italy as it has more of a football culture. So far I have played for Italy's Under-16s, Under-17s and Under-18s.

Best player you've faced
Francesco Totti. This was when the Under-17 side played the full Italian national side in a training match before Euro 2004. We lost 12-2, but I scored both our goals past Francesco Toldo. I'm very proud of that! It was amazing to be on the same field as Totti, to witness his touch and vision close-up.

Best advice given
My father, Fernando, has always stressed how important it is to give your all in every game and training session. This advice has been echoed by all my coaches.

I can't drive, so I don't have a car yet. I need to start learning, but it is still strange that you drive on the other side of the road in England.

R'n'B and hip-hop. I'm listening to Usher's latest CD a lot at the moment.

Favourite TV
Any football match, videos on MTV and also episodes of Friends, which I could watch all day. Joey makes me laugh a lot.

Jennifer Aniston or Courteney Cox?
That's really a close one. If I had to choose, I think it would have to be Jennifer Aniston.

If I hadn't been a footballer...
I have always been fascinated by technology, and back in Italy I did some studies on it. Maybe I would have been something like a computer programmer.

In five years time I'll be...
Playing regularly in the United first team has to be the aim for anyone at this club.

Interview: Sam Pilger. From the February 2005 issue of FourFourTwo.