Ben Osborn says his Premier League ambitions were fuelled by the FA Cup as he looks to make the most of a rare first-team chance at Sheffield United.
The midfielder was at Nottingham Forest when the Championship side stunned Arsenal 4-2 in 2018, but lost 2-0 at Chelsea in last season’s third round.
Osborn was then keen to cut it at a higher level with the Blades in the summer after their promotion, but will make only his third start when they host non-league Fylde on Sunday.
As he recalled how facing Cesc Fabregas and Co whetted his appetite, he said: ‘It gives you an insight, ultimately you get off the pitch and say you want more of that, want to test yourself against these players every week.
‘You just want more, just want to play against the best and match yourself. Of course the Premier League is the goal from the start, but then when you get a little taste of it, it leaves you even more hungry.
‘I’d say my career is still on a upward incline. Moving to a better team, training with a better squad of players and being in the best league in the world. it’s now a time in my career where I’ve got to be patient for the first time.
‘I’m seeing a different side of the game, rather than playing every week and not having to worry about fighting for my place or being patient and not lose my head when not playing.
‘It’s been a test, but hopefully makes me a better player in the long run. I think it’s definitely made me hungrier when I do get the chance. I’d love to go on a run in the cup.
‘Fylde have got nothing to lose. They will be having the game of their lives, running through brick walls. We’ve got to match that and then our quality hopefully comes through.’
In watching his side’s impressive top-flight feats, Osborn has picked up tips to help hone his game. None more so than when the Blades were beaten 2-0 at leaders Liverpool on Thursday.
‘I thought [Gini] Wijnaldum was exceptional,’ added Osborn. ‘The way he kept the ball, kept looking forward, the whole midfield three of Liverpool the other night were really good.
‘[Jordan] Henderson and [James] Milner covering the ground and clever with their positions, made it difficult for us. But I thought Wijnaldum just never gave the ball away and got out of tight areas.’