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Wes Brown

brown.jpg

Wes Brown

Brown began his serious football career as a schoolboy playing for the Burnage High School and Fletcher Moss Rangers a Greater Manchester youth side, and was a former student of the FA School of Excellence at Lilleshall, as well as spending time at Manchester United's football Academy, which he joined at the age of 12. Brown showed talent and maturity at an early age, signing full professional terms with boyhood club Manchester United on 4 November 1996 at the age of 17.

Brown went on to success with the reserve and youth sides, winning the FA Youth Cup and a Lancashire Division One medal with the reserves. He also added a Denzil Haroun Young Player of the Year award to his collection.

On 4 May 1998, Brown made his full first team Premiership debut against Leeds United, coming on as a substitute. His breakthrough would occur the next year, the 1998–99 season, where he made several first-team appearances at right-back as well as his more natural position of centre-back. The season could not have gone any better for Brown, as United captured the legendary treble.

Brown suffered the first of what would be a string of injures while training for the 1999–2000 campaign. As a result, he did not play a single competitive game all season, while United went on to seal their sixth Premier League title in eight seasons.

His strong comeback the following year prompted praise from all corners, with club manager Sir Alex Ferguson making waves by proclaiming Brown to be Manchester United's most talented defender.

A fine 2000–01 campaign was followed by another solid year in 2001–02. His reputation grew even greater during the 2002–03 season, but again, his performances were marred by injury. Brown tore a knee ligament on the final day of the season, and did not return until midway through the 2003–04 season. Brown finished the season in good form, notably giving an imperious, man-of-the-match performance in the FA Cup semi-final win over Arsenal. It was after this fine display that Ferguson re-iterated his belief that Brown is "the best natural defender" in England. Respected pundit Alan Hansen concurred, calling Brown "a class act." Despite this, Brown was not able to translate his form into a place in the England Euro 2004 squad.

Brown was a member of the side that won the FA Cup that year, against Millwall F.C. at Cardiff, and later went on to collect runners-up medals in the 2005 and 2007 Finals.

After nearly 3 years without scoring a Premier League goal for United, Brown scored on 23 March 2008 against Liverpool, the first in a 3–0 win.

After initially rejecting a new contract offer in December 2007,Brown signed a new five-year contract along with fellow defender Rio Ferdinand and midfielder Michael Carrick in April 2008, which will keep him at Old Trafford until 2013 and ended any transfer speculation. On 4 October 2008, Brown scored only the fourth goal of his Manchester United career when he headed in Wayne Rooney's cross in United's 2–0 win away to Blackburn Rovers. The goal was controversial, however, as Blackburn's players believed that Nemanja Vidić had impeded their goalkeeper, Jason Brown, allowing Brown to head in at the far post.