MANCHESTER, England – Manchester United has recruited a 9-year-old soccer prodigy based on video footage featuring his skills.
The club brought in Rhain Davis after his grandfather sent a DVD to United youth staff showing the boy playing for an under-10 team in Brisbane, Australia.
"Manchester United is proud of its history of developing talented young players, and invests considerable time and resources into trying to find the best young players of the future," the club said in a statement.
In Davis' case, however, United need only have invested four minutes. That is the length of a YouTube clip featuring Davis's dribbling, stepover and goal-scoring skills -- viewed more than 800,000 times on the site -- that has led fans to describe him as the next Wayne Rooney.
The club has downplayed such hype, pointing out that it recruits about 40 players of Davis' age every year, and that Davis' status with the club will be subject to the same annual review as any other youth player.
Davis has moved to England and is training with a United youth squad.
"Being here has been brilliant," The Sun newspaper quoted Davis as saying. "The best part has been meeting a lot of the players, like Wayne Rooney."
Davis was born in England and has a British passport. His grandfather lives in England.