Federico Macheda believes joining Sampdoria on loan from Manchester United was the "worst mistake" of his career.
The 24-year-old striker was a highly rated prospect when he first emerged in the United senior squad with two goals in his first two games, but he was unable to secure regular football.
The Italian then spent periods on loan at Sampdoria, QPR, Stuttgart, Doncaster Rovers and Birmingham City before joining Cardiff City on a permanent deal.
Macheda has again been unable to become a first-team regular at the Championship side and he feels the slide in his prospects began when he made the move to Serie A.
"Sir Alex Ferguson told me it would not be bad for me to go out on loan to be fit for the following season," he told The Sun.
"I don’t know why I went to Italy. It was the worst mistake of my career. I should have stayed in England.
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"I wanted to play in Serie A. The team wasn’t so great and I was in and out.
"I was only 19 and we got relegated so it was not the best for me. When I came back, I had to work three times harder to get another chance. It wasn’t easy.”
Macheda left Lazio to join United in 2007 and came on to score a late goal against Aston Villa in April 2009 and then grabbing another against Sunderland in the next league game.
And he admits that his situation changed immensely after his quick rise to fame.
"Sir Alex met my parents because he wanted me protected and to take things in the right direction" he added.
"He wanted to make sure I’d continue working hard and not let any hype have a bad influence on me.
"After I scored those goals, when I went out I had people stopping me and giving me attention. I didn’t expect it.
"It was actually fun because it’s nice when people like what you’ve done and show their appreciation."