Liam Ridgewell, one gets the feeling, would like to mark players of the calibre of Wayne Rooney every week.
He certainly wouldn't shy away from the task. His future, both immediate and long term, depends on it.
So it is with a justified amount of self-satisfaction that the young Aston Villa defender emerged from his latest test against Rooney, the Manchester United wunderkind, unscathed and with his reputation seemingly enhanced. Tonight he hopes to embellish that reputation against Portsmouth.
"I think I did OK. It was testing my wits against the best," he said. "Every week you come up against new opponents and I think I came out in a positive light."
Ridgewell has played alongside Rooney in the England Under 17 side but the view is different when the shirts they wear clash. He said: "You know he is always going to attack you. Every time he gets the ball you know he is going to head for goal and try to shoot at every opportunity.
"You try to anticipate his moves but he is different every time he plays. I played against him in the Youth Cup Final and you could always tell he was something special."
Of course Ridgewell's continued improvement will further deny Martin Laursen a return to the Villa line-up - even if fit. Ridgewell, while sympathising with Laursen's plight, is determined to take his chance.
The England Under-21 international said: "Obviously I feel sorry for Martin. I had my knee injury at the start of last season and that was bad timing for me. But things happen and I've just got to take my chance. Hopefully I'll do that.
"It gives me a lot of encouragement to play well against the likes of van Nistelrooy, Rooney and Ronaldo. I'm still learning and playing like that against those players is a massive lift."
Ridgewell, is maturing both on and off the field and he hopes to have finally caught David O'Leary's eye.
"Every time I go out there I am playing for my future and trying to prove to myself and everyone else that I can do it. I need to take my opportunity and give the gaffer a headache every time he comes to pick the team."
Despite Villa garnering only a point from their two matches, Ridgewell shares the confidence that permeates the side.
Portsmouth pose a different problem to that of Manchester United but the squad is lifted by the return of striker Kevin Phillips although Patrick Berger and JLloyd Samuel will miss the game.
Ridgewell said: "We'll go down there, with the same application we showed against Bolton and United. The difference is, it was backs to the wall on Saturday and hopefully we'll create a few more chances of our own tomorrow."
Ridgewell sports a line of star-shaped tattoos along his right forearm - "there's no real significance in them," he says, but, perhaps, after the frustrations of trying to make permanent his place in the Villa first team, his star is at last rising.