A former Manchester United prodigy once dubbed the 'next Ryan Giggs' is now fundraising in a bid to save his football career.
Callum Gribbin was on the books at Carrington for 11 years after joining United as a schoolboy back in 2008. It was while in the Red Devils' academy that he developed a reputation as a tricky, skilful and fleet-footed winger in the mould of club legend Giggs, also possessing a cultured left foot.
His talent was even spotted by ex-United boss Jose Mourinho, who was impressed by Gribbin's progress during his tenure. But sadly things didn't quite work out as hoped for the hot prospect.
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Now 24, Gribbin is in need of surgery after rupturing his anterior cruciate ligament, medial ligament and posterior ligament following a bad tackle.
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The winger has already had his fair share of bad luck with injuries, which contributed to his release from United back in 2019, before his gradual drop down the divisions, first with Sheffield United, followed by respective spells with Barrow and Radcliffe.
Gribbin is now playing his football at Northern Premier League non-league side FC United of Manchester – the breakaway club formed by Man Utd supporters in protest of the Glazers when they took charge in 2005.
Yet in order to get back playing, Gribbin has to first stump up the cash for his operation, as despite the PFA paying 50 per cent of the costs, neither he nor his club could afford to contribute the rest.
Fortunately he managed to hit his £8,000 target with two days of his own proposed deadline to spare, though the hard work is still to come with an intense rehabilitation in the offing as he faces between nine months and a year on the sidelines.
A statement from FC United of Manchester read: "Injuries are commonplace but sometimes the injuries are severe, affecting not only the player's ability to play football, but also their life outside including their family life and their ability to work.
"These ligaments provide stability to the knee and are devastating for anyone in terms of mobility, not least someone who relies on football as an occupation.
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"We appreciate that times are hard for everyone, but if you can help by chipping in anything you can afford, no matter how small, it would help Callum through an incredibly tough period in his life. He wouldn't ask for this support himself – but he needs it more than ever."
Gribbin took to Twitter to thank all those who had come forward to support him, writing: "Thank you so much to everyone who has donated."
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