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A former student at the FA School of Excellence at Lilleshall, Wes Brown also played for Manchester and Greater Manchester as a schoolboy. He signed as a trainee on leaving school in July 1996 and signed as a professional just four months later on 4 November 1996.

In his first full season at Old Trafford, Brown picked up a Lancashire FA Youth Cup winners' medal and a Lancashire League Division One medal together with the Denzil Haroun Young Player of the Year award.

Performances throughout the season earned him a place on the substitutes' bench against Leeds United on 4 May 1998. Brought on in the 60th minute to replace David May, he appeared in the starting line-up for the first time the following week as United defeated Barnsley 2-0.

His performances in the 1998-99 season again caught the eye. An accomplished central defender, Brown gained a regular first team place deputising for the injured Denis Irwin at full-back. Quick and able to surge forward down the wing, Brown has had football critics revelling in his potential, likening him to a young Paul McGrath.

An established international at Under-18 and Under-21 level, Brown made the step up to the senior squad during the 1998/99 season, and received his first cap under Kevin Keegan, playing against Hungary in Budapest.

Wes' first team opportunities became rarer towards the end of the season, but the young defender had played his part in the club's treble success.

Did You Know?
When Wes travelled to Italy with United's Reserves in 1998, he acquired the autograph of AC Milan legend Franco Baresi.


Patrick Eustace 2000. Last modified on Thurs, 20 Jan, 2000

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Wes Brown on his England Call-up

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