A former Manchester United youth player, described by manager Sir Alex Ferguson as an “outstanding” player, has been awarded £4.5 million after a tackle broke his leg in two places and ended his career.
Ben Collett was awarded the damages at the High Court in London. Collett, 23, joined United’s youth team when he was just 9 and signed a youth contract, and was part of the team that beat Middlesbrough to lift the 2003 FA Youth Cup.
However, aged 18 and in his first game for United’s reserves, he was on the end of a tackle from Middlesbrough’s Gary Smith, who broke his leg in two places. Both Smith and Boro admitted to the neglegence claim from Collett.
Judge Justice Swift found that had Collett not been injured, he would have received a three-year contract from Manchester United, with Sir Alex going on to say:
I thought the boy showed fantastic focus, a great attitude to work hard and they are qualities to give any player an outstanding chance in the game.
The court had heard that Collett had the potential to have earned more than £13,000 a week as a professional footballer, making a possible total in excess of £16million, during a career. Mrs Justice Swift awarded Collett £3,854,328 for future loss of earnings, to be paid for by Middlesbrough’s insurers.