Manchester United decided to release a 14-year-old Dwight McNeil because his set-pieces were not up to scratch, his former PE teacher Richard Snape told The Sun earlier this month.
There is more than a hint of irony, then, in the fact that McNeil is now starring in the Premier League for Burnley with a pinpoint delivery from free-kicks and corners quickly becoming his party trick.
It is five years since the teenager’s Old Trafford dream was brought to a brutal end but it is a credit to his character, and not to mention his quality, that he has come back stronger.
After forcing his way into Sean Dyche’s starting XI, McNeil has managed three goals and five assists in his debut Premier League season and it is becoming quickly apparent that Manchester United made a potentially devastating error of judgement.
Pep Guardiola’s side have reported been sending scouts to watch the 19-year-old, alongside Newcastle United and Everton.
An old-school winger with a wand of a left foot, if Guardiola has turned Raheem Sterling, Kevin De Bruyne and Bernardo Silva into world-class attacking talents, just imagine the impact he could have on McNeil.