By Dominic Toner

New Aston Villa goalkeeper Pierluigi Gollini has revealed that he turned down a contact extension during his stay at Manchester United.

He opted for a move to Italian side Hellas Verona and spent two seasons there continuing his development before returning to England.

The 21-year-old joined Aston Villa for £4.1million last week from the Italian team and is now preparing for life in the Championship, under the guidance of new manager Roberto Di Matteo.

He told the Birmingham Mail: “They (United) came to me and offered me a new contract but there was nobody there who could tell me what they thought about me.

“There was Giggsy who was doing a bit and the goalkeeper coach Chris Woods who was a great person to me to be honest, but obviously he had other thing to deal with (and was also let go after Moyes was sacked).

“They gave me an offer but I didn’t really like it because they had no coach or manager and I didn’t know what they wanted to do with me.”

The Italian insists that his time in the United youth set-up made him stronger as a person, but a move back to Italy was more beneficial for his career.

He has revealed that he turned down the chance to sign for Euro giants Juventus and link up with idol Gianluigi Buffon, before moving back to English football with Villa.

The youngster will now fight for a place in the first team with Villa’s Brad Guzan and Mark Bunn, who both had torrid campaigns last season.

The Midlands outfit conceded 76 goals during the 2015-16 season as Guzan and Bunn failed to cement down a place in the first team.

Di Matteo will be hoping the ex-Manchester player can settle into Villa Park and cement his place in the team as the club plan for instant promotion back to the Premier League.

In other Aston Villa news, their owner Tony Xia insists that they have won back the faithful and have the numbers to prove it.