LONDON Manchester United have signed a gifted nine-year-old after his grandfather sent the Premier League champions a DVD showcasing the boy's talents which has become a YouTube sensation.
Rhain Davis, who was born in England but has lived in Australia since the age of four, was hailed by the press on Thursday as the next Wayne Rooney after the United striker.
The boy's dribbling and goalscoring prowess for an Under-10 side in Brisbane, Australia, feature in a four-minute YouTube clip, already viewed more than 800,000 times.
United confirmed the signing but played down the hype around Davis, who has moved back to Cheshire with his father, near the club's training ground.
"He's a member of our academy and we don't comment on individual members," a United spokesman told Reuters.
He added that the club sign about 40 players of Davis's age every year and, as is standard, will decide annually whether to renew his contract or release him.
What was so unusual in Davis's case was that his skills were brought to the attention of United's youth scouts by the DVD submission, which could inspire other hopefuls, the spokesman said.
"We're bracing ourselves for a whole series of DVDs," he added.
Davis has been thrilled at the chance to rub shoulders with some of his idols.
"The best part has been meeting lots of players like Wayne Rooney," he told newspapers.