Manchester United will be up against a former player, Zoran Tosic, in Thursday’s Europa League Group L clash with Partizan Belgrade.
Tosic signed for United from Partizan in January 2009, as part of a double deal to secure Adem Ljajic, who was unable to complete the move due to work-permit issues. Tosic struggled to break into the star-studded first team at Old Trafford and after just five senior appearances, he moved on to CSKA Moscow a year later.
Speaking to The Athletic, Tosic said, “I was put straight into the first-team squad and the levels were so high that it felt like another sport.
“It was very heavy for me in those first weeks in Manchester. The ball moved so quickly in training, the quality was top, top, level. Nobody lost the ball, except me. I was trying my best but it wasn’t enough. This wasn’t the football I knew.”
Who remembers this man? Zoran Tošić….
The only player who has played for both Partizan Belgrade and Manchester United, so far… He only managed 5 appearances in a United shirt, but has over 100 for them!#MUFC #UTFR pic.twitter.com/a5mj2XKWYr
— Stephen Howson (@MrStephenHowson) October 23, 2019
Tosic said he learned so much from veterans Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes, who he said trained at ‘200 percent.’
The former Serbia winger said: “They lived football 24 hours. It was a big surprise to me to see them do this, a big lesson. They were on bikes before training and in the gym after.
“They didn’t know it but I learned so much from copying them. There was a gym in Belgrade but nobody really used it. We do now, it’s normal in Serbian football, but when I first arrived in England I would go back to my hotel alone and say to myself, ‘come on, step up!’ But it would take time.”