Rhain Davis: Man United signed 9-year-old YouTube sensation in 2007 - what happened to him?


In the hopes of improving performances on the pitch, Manchester United have appointed a Director of Data Science.

It’s a far cry from the time they signed a young lad after watching a DVD of his skills.

That happened in 2007, when nine-year-old Rhain Davis joined United’s academy after his family sent a DVD of his skills to the Red Devils.

Davis was a YouTube sensation

Davis’ skills were already known to those who had followed him on YouTube. A sensation on the platform, one video racked up millions of views within a few days of move to United.

The club moved Davis and his family from Australia to Cheshire, where he would compete with players his age to stay on at United’s academy.

The move attracted plenty of attention, with Davis even appearing on the front page of The Sun.

‘Man United sign footie genius, 9’, the newspaper claimed.

Meanwhile, a BBC Newsround article said lots of people were already saying he could be the next Wayne Rooney or Cristiano Ronaldo.


What happened to him?

Davis’ career was hurt by a broken leg suffered in 2013 at the age of 16, prompting his release from United.

“Breaking my leg and getting released after seven years was the lowest point I have had,” Davis told Football Central in 2016.

“Breaking my leg was the primary reason why I was let go but I’m not going to use that as an excuse.”


Davis’ football career wasn’t over, though. He joined National League side Altrincham FC in 2015 while continuing his education and also returned to Australia to train with A-League side Central Coast Mariners.

The midfielder nearly signed a deal to play for the Mariners but the departure of sporting director Mike Phelan, who left to work under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer at Old Trafford in 2018, scuppered those plans.

Where is Davis now?

For Davis, education eventually became a priority and he graduated from the University of Sheffield with a first-class honours degree in Economics and Business Management.

He told SportBIBLE in 2020 that he desired “a successful career in finance”, and it appears he’s well on his way to that, currently working as an audit associate. 

It wasn’t meant to be for Davis in football, but the memories he made, including meeting Sir Alex Ferguson and being around many high-profile stars, will have made the whole journey worth it.


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