But for former Manchester United trio Sean Goss, RoShaun Williams and Donald Love, the dream didn’t come true at Old Trafford.
Now they are all playing big parts in pushing Shrewsbury Town in to the top half of the League One table.
While not making the grade at United is a big blow for any young aspiring footballer, getting out and playing games is helping the trio get back on track and showcase their talents to a wider audience.
Although for Goss, who arrived at Montgomery Waters Meadow via QPR, it has taken time to find a club where he feels settled.
“It (QPR) was difficult,” said the midfielder. “When you leave United, you want to go somewhere and expect to go and play games. Unfortunately I didn’t get as many games as I’d have liked to.
“That’s why coming here has been perfect for me so far, because it’s probably the best run of games I’ve ever had.
“It helped as well that Ro was here before us.
“We could speak to Ro and hear what he was saying about the club. He was playing every week and it really helps coming in when you know a few faces already.
“I think sometimes, (leaving United) gets looked upon as a negative.
“Because so many players come through at United and obviously not everyone is going to make it, it’s not a bad thing to go out and start playing every week. And I think it shows too.
“I’ve played a lot of games this season where some of our old team-mates have been playing for the opposition.
“And even when you bump into (former United players), whether it’s on holiday or going for a meal or something, there’s never any judgement.
“Everyone’s happy for each other, as long as they’re happy with what they’re doing, playing every week.”
“It’s difficult, but I think you know when your time is up,” added Love on bidding farewell to United as he did in 2016, joining Sunderland along with team-mate Paddy McNair.
Both had featured in the first team under Louis van Gaal – Love having played two senior games.
Williams was the first of the three to arrive at Town, joining in January having been a regular captain of United’s Under-23s.
“I just didn’t see a future for myself at United,” said the 21-year-old, who made the bench twice in the Louis Van Gaal era.
“I wanted to get out, get out and play, so I spoke to a couple of people about it and I left. And it’s probably been the right decision for me.”
Williams is a big pal of current United and England striker Marcus Rashford, the duo having been close friends since their early primary school days.
They were former team-mates at renowned south Manchester junior side Fletcher Moss Rangers before coming through ranks together at United.
And Williams believes Rashford can help revive the fallen Premier League champions over the next few years.
“I think [pressure] is just normal to him,” he said. “He’s always wanted to play for United, like us three did.
“It didn’t work out for us, but it’s worked for him and since he’s come into the side he’s been a big player.
“A lot of people come in (to the team) young and go out, but he’s stayed in there.
“There’s always going to be pressure for him, whether he’s doing good or bad, but he gets on with it.”
Williams: “It’s a difficult period for the club at the moment but one that will work out better in the long run.
“I think a few years of these players developing with the right experienced player and United will definitely be one of the best sides in England and Europe again.”
Interview carried out by Dominic Booth of the Manchester Evening News.