£4.3m award to Man U rising star for career-ending tackle

August 12th, 2008 - 10:50 am ICT by IANS  

London, Aug 12 (IANS) A youngster considered to be the brightest future star of British soccer received a multi-million pound package as compensation after a tackle ended his career. Ben Collett, now 23, joined Manchester United at the age of nine and the club nurtured his talent, describing him to be an outstanding prospect.

But fate intervened in the very first game he played as a reserve. Collett, a left-footed player who had been compared to Ryan Giggs, had his leg broken in two places when he was tackled by Middlesbrough’s Gary Smith.

The high court in London Monday awarded £4.3m in damages - a record according to his lawyers - including £3,854,328 for predicted loss of earnings. It is expected to rise to more than £4.5m when future loss of pension and interest on past loss of earnings are calculated at a hearing due to take place in October.

“Ben would understandably have preferred to earn this sum through a full career as a professional footballer.” his lawyer Ben Levinson told the Guardian,

Collett was talent-spotted by United Scouts as nine-year-old and made his way through the club’s youth programme. In January 2001 he was offered a two-year scholarship and promised a one-year professional contract when he turned 18.

He played a central role in the club’s victory in the FA Youth Cup and was named the young player of the year. But only days later, during his first appearance for the reserves, Collett broke his leg in two places, effectively ending his career.

“I thought the boy showed fantastic focus, a great attitude to hard work, and they are qualities to give any player an outstanding chance in the game,” Man U manager Sir Alex Ferguson told an earlier hearing of the court.

Collett attempted a come-back but was unable to achieve his previous physical standards. He is due to start an English degree at the University of Leeds next September and now hopes to pursue a career in law, journalism or academia.

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