FORMER Manchester United star Callum Gribbin has the world at his feet.
Described as the best young star in the academy since Ryan Giggs and Ravel Morrison, the natural talent is expected to become a superstar at Old Trafford.
Back in 2011, when he donned the famous No 10 shirt, he wowed Sir Alex Ferguson, Dennis Bergkamp and Sir Bobby Charlton with the testimonial of Edwin van der Sar, while it was the future star Matthijs de Ligt.
However, his poor training attitude is said to have led to his disqualification in 2019.
Today, Gribbin, 23 years old, is playing in seventh place for Radcliffe.
ONE TO SEE
Only in 2015 did Gribbin feature in The Guardian’s Next Generation list of the best talents at Premier League clubs.
Liverpool went to great lengths to prize the Salford-born wonder, while rowdy neighbours, Manchester City, were also concerned.
But the flying midfielder and his coaches believe he will flourish for the Reds, so a move elsewhere is never exciting.
A glimpse of his abilities came in 2011, when he played for United’s Under-13s against Ajax at Old Trafford in front of 53,000 fans, as part of Edwin van der Sar’s testimonial.
Gribbin has shown himself a star, scoring twice against esteemed guests past and present at both clubs, including the player he has been compared to Ryan Giggs.
For his second goal, he hit Ajax’s ‘promising’ de Ligt, running from midway before circling the keeper and finishing home.
“He’s a bogus talent,” said former United academy graduate Charlie Scott. The Athletic.
“I mean, it’s not real. Gribbo is easily one of the best players I’ve ever played with.
“He’ll dribble past five players in practice and he’ll laugh as he walks past you. He’s a great guy, full of jokes.”
Despite his undisputed mastery of the ball, there were attitude problems that hindered Gribbin’s early development.
There are alleged incidents, along with the belief that he could have worked harder and behaved better.
Under Jose Mourinho’s watch, things really started to unravel.
Back in 2018, United’s then head of the academy Nicky Butt told The Times of a player who had “dropped training for a bit”.
While he did not name the perpetrator, the Manchester Evening News alleged Butt was talking about Gribbin.
“I was crazy about him,” Butt revealed.
“I said, ‘That training session is more important than any game you’re going to play this season, under 23, under 19, under 18. To be in front of the manager and show how good you are. which is priceless.”
“The next time he was in front of the manager, the manager badmouthed him.”
However, impressive trading sessions are few and far between. In the summer of 2019, United released him.
It’s not known if it’s because his coaches don’t see enough progress from him, or feel that he just doesn’t have the spirit to get there.
During his final week at the club, Butt handed it over to Callum straight.
“You’ll probably work at McDonald’s or we’ll buy you back for £100m,” he said.
Brighton & Hove Albion was the first club interested in Gribbin. But moving away from home did not appeal to the Manchester boy.
However, he jumped at the opportunity to link up with Chris Wilder at Sheffield United, is a big fan.
He played with the U23 team for one season, but was frustrated by the lack of action from the first team.
Despite the Blades fighting to keep their place, Gribbin decided to move to League Two side Barrow in 2020.
Manager David Dunn vowed to make him the heartbeat of his team, but quickly discovered he was not the type of player Barrow needed as they battled to maintain.
Gribbin was frozen, before being asked to train with a group of players who were not given team numbers and were not allowed to participate in first team training sessions.
In the summer he had to look for another club, maintaining his fitness by training with Salford City.
BUILD YOURSELF AGAIN
Last month, to much fanfare on their social media, Northern Premier League’s Radcliffe announced the acquisition of Gribbin.
They even humorously called him ‘British Messi’.
Instead of running out onto the pitch in front of the 75,000 fans at Old Trafford, he is now playing on a steep pitch in front of just 300 people.
So far, he has made a good impression on his new owners.
“The thing is, football is a confusing business, especially at the highest level,” revealed club chairman Paul Hilton.
“A lot of players at our level have nine out of ten things needed to be a professional footballer.
“It’s about finding a missing element and trying to fix it. It could be their weak legs, it could be their intellect, it could be the friends they keep, it could be a lot of things.”
“Hopefully we can help Callum figure out what his stuff is – and bring him back. He still has a good chance.
“Things can turn around for him like a pear. His attitude is right. He’s a good guy and we have a proud history of bringing players back into the League. football.”
Time will tell if Gribbin gets the same chance.
https://www.the-sun.com/sport/4320274/man-utd-callum-gribbin-ryan-giggs-radcliffe/ Former Man Utd star Callum Gribbin is the best talent since Ryan Giggs, but currently plays for seventh-place Radcliffe