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07th Jan 2017

Manchester United turn to scout who discovered Raheem Sterling in quest for new Beckham

London Eye.

Mikey Stafford

There was a time (around 1992, perhaps) when Manchester United could be relied upon to hoover up all the best talent from all over the UK and Ireland.

Alex Ferguson’s scouting network was the envy of their rivals and the academy at the Cliff was packed with promising footballers from the four corners.

There were local lads like the Nevilles and Paul Scholes, future Wales internationals Ryan Giggs, Robbie Savage and Simon Davies, Adrian Doherty from Northern Ireland, Colin McKee from Scotland and David Beckham from London.

The globalisation of football, coupled with massive investment by rivals such as Manchester City, means that Carrington is not quite the draw the Cliff once was for young British and Irish players.

When the club captain Wayne Rooney’s own son starts training at Manchester City’s state of the art academy, you know it is time to get a hold of the situation, which United this week sought to do with the signing of Mark Anderson.

Anderson is not a teenage footballing star, but rather the man who discovers teenage footballing stars. He joins United from Championship leaders Brighton and, before that, the sought-after scout worked for United’s great rivals Liverpool.

It was Anderson who discovered Raheem Sterling at QPR and convinced him to join the Reds for a nominal fee. Liverpool sold him to City for £49 million last season.

Working under another Class of ’92 graduate, academy director Nicky Butt, Anderson will be charged with opening up the south of England to United and helping them to find the next David Beckham.

“The Manchester United offer doesn’t come along every day,’ he told the Daily Mail. “I feel that it is the next part of my development and I feel that I can make a big impact in the London area.

“It goes back some time when the likes of David Beckham came out of London for United, so I want to be able to give some of the young talent another option when the time is right.”