Josh King’s story serves as a reminder to all Manchester United’s youngsters that there is more than just one route to the top.
The 27-year-old striker has gone from Red Devils reject to a top Premier League striker after a series of loan spells and Championship football.
Not every talented teenager will make it into the first team at Old Trafford, just ask the likes of Michael Keane, Ravel Morrison and Febian Brandy.
United have a crop of youngsters on the fringes of their first team who have the chance of making it and with Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at the helm they are likely to get an opportunity.
Mason Greenwood, Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Brandon Williams and James Garner have all featured at least once this season.
The Norway international was once one of them on the fringes of the squad waiting for an opportunity but will line-up against United on Saturday for Bournemouth, with commentary of the match live on talkSPORT.
Here at talkSPORT.com, we have taken a look at how King fought his way back to the top and how he can be an inspiration to other United wonderkids.
Joining Manchester United
King grew up in Oslo to a Gambian father and Norwegian mother and played for local clubs Romsas and Valerenga.
The striker trained with the Manchester club several times before signing for them when he turned 16, as UEFA rules prevented him joining before them.
He is also thought to have had trial offers from Chelsea, Sunderland and Ipswich before rejecting them in favour of the Red Devils.
King was tipped for a bright future at the club and was sent out on several loan spells to gain first team experience where he joined Preston, Borussia Monchengladbach, Hull and Blackburn.
He did also make two competitive appearances for United in cup competitions but he made the decision to leave permanently in 2013 and join Blackburn.
Why did he leave United?
The striker previous revealed how Sir Alex Ferguson’s perseverance with Federico Macheda was the final straw.
He told Sky Sports: “I was offered a new contract. But I just felt it was time to play.
“I was 21 and I didn’t want to play reserve football. I was in the squad for a Champions League game against Galatasaray.
“I said to myself before the game ‘if I play this game I sign’. That’s a sign I’m going to sign. I’ll just stay and be patient.
“And he put Federico Macheda on before me and I came on the last four minutes.
“That got me so angry, the next day I signed for Blackburn.”
You can understand King’s frustration because Macheda was a flop with United and now plays with Panathinaikos in Greece.
Josh King career statistics
Manchester United, 2009-2013 – 2 games, 0 goals
Preston (loan), 2010-11 – 10 games, 1 goal
Borussia Monchengladbach (loan), 2011 – 2 games, 0 goals
Hull City (loan), 2012 – 19 games, 1 goal
Blackburn (loan), 2012 – 8 games, 2 goals
Blackburn, 2013-2015 – 66 games, 6 goals
Bournemouth, 2015-present – 153 games, 46 goals
The striker did credit the United academy with shaping the player he became, though, and it was Sir Alex Ferguson who kept the players grounded.
He told the Bournemouth Echo: “I was with the ressies. I trained a few times with the first team but was never part of the first-team dressing room.
“He was probably one of the best managers in the world and I have nothing bad to say about him.
“To be a part of the first team, you had to have made that step. He wanted you to know that you had to work hard to get to the first team.
“All the youngsters had to wear black boots and weren’t allowed to train wearing gloves before they had reached the first team.
“He helped keep a lot of the young players’ heads planted and nobody ever thought they were better than they were. It was probably the best school to go to as a young player.”
King joined Blackburn in January 2013 but did not make an immediate impact at the Championship club.
He found goals hard to come by with players like Jordan Rhodes and Colin Kazim-Richards already at the club.
The Norway international took time in finding his feet but still only managed eight goals in 74 total appearances for the club before getting a move to the Premier League.
Eddie Howe saw something in King and Bournemouth paid £1million for him in the summer transfer window in 2015.
He has since flourished in the top flight with 44 Premier League goals in 144 appearances with his best return of 16 coming in the 2016/17 campaign.
King’s performances with Bournemouth have even seen him linked with a sensational return to Manchester United.
What have people said about him?
Sir Alex Ferguson obviously saw something in the striker to keep him at the club for so long and offer him a new contract.
After he scored his first goal for Norway, in 2012, Ferguson said: “Josh King has done very well. We get mixed fortunes when players go on loan and Josh didn’t play much at Monchengladbach last year.
“But he did well in pre-season and has been working really hard.
“He’s shown he has good ability. He scored the third goal on Tuesday and that is bound to have given him a boost.
“He’s very quick with a great physique and should have a good career.”
Bournemouth manager has always maintained that King was a huge bargain when they signed him from Blackburn.
Eddie Howe told the Independent in 2017: “When I first started to work with him, I believed he could be anything he wanted to be.
“He has everything that he needs to be a top-level player. I still feel the same way. It’s just a case of trying to work with him every day to get those improvements in his game that we feel he needs.”
Those improvements he has made and he remains invaluable to the Cherries as they enter their fifth season in the top flight.
His story serves as a lesson to all those youngsters at the club that there is a route back to the top even if you have to leave.
Saturday is GameDay on talkSPORT as we bring you THREE live Premier League commentaries across our network, including Bournemouth vs Manchester United at 12:30pm