As Ryan Giggs is inundated with praise for his performances in the twilight of his career, a former Man United left winger will look back and wonder if he could have found himself in a similar position, if luck had been on his side.
Lee Sharpe was an immensly talented winger but injury as well as the celebrity lifestyle saw his talent dwindle and he ended his career at unheralded Garforth Town.
Starting his career at Torquay United, he was snapped up by Man United after just 16 appearances for £200,000, a record fee at the time for a YTS player and it was at Old Trafford that Sharpe made his name.
He scored his first goal for the club the following season against Millwall but his season would end in disappointment as he failed to make the squad for the FA Cup final, which United would win 1-0 in a replay after initially drawing 3-3.
The following season as United won the Cup Winners Cup, Sharpe would play an integral part and in his own words the highlight of his United career came as he scored a hat trick against Arsenal in the League Cup. The 90-91 season saw Sharpe finally become United’s first choice left winger but he would not hold this position for long as an unknown rose through the ranks to usurp his place, Ryan Giggs.
As he became first choice at United he would receive England call ups and despite being unable to shake John Barnes from the position, for some one as talented as he to only get 8 caps it was a shame especially as in his time England had players like Steve Guppy in his preferred position.
Injury also played a part in his decline, he suffered viral meningitis in Autumn 1992 opening the door for Ryan Giggs to come in and take his place on the wing and when he had fully recovered he was left battling with Denis Irwin for the left back spot and Andrei Kanchelskis for a place on the right wing.
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