England star Owen Farrell will be hoping to lead his side to the Rugby World Cup final this weekend.
Farrell, who played a key role in their win over Fiji in the quarter-finals, has featured regularly at the tournament so far.
While many will know Farrell for his performances on the rugby pitch, fans may not have known that he could have chosen to gone down a different path.
At the age of 13, the Wigan-born fly-half was offered a trial with Premier League giants Manchester United.
His ability as a goalkeeper caught the eye of the Premier League side. United’s goalkeeping coach Richard Hartis was at the club while Farrell trialled for the side.
England rugby star Owen Farrell once turned the chance to play for Manchester United
Farrell had a brief spell with the club at the age of 13 and was even given a tour around United’s facilities
Giving an insight into Farrell’s talents, Hartis told the Telegraph: ‘Owen was terrific. You could just tell from within a few minutes of meeting him that he carried himself really well.
‘I remember him looking me straight in the eye and giving a firm handshake. He fitted into our culture really, really well.
‘You don’t know if he would have made it because he was only with us a few months. But we absolutely would have liked him to stay.
‘You can always tell when you meet a top-class sportsman, they have that air about him and he did.’
Farrell was recommended to the club by Jonathan Hill, the head of PE at John Fisher School in Wigan.
‘I know what elite football looks like’ said Hill.
‘I remember seeing Owen go in goal and he was loving it – playing for fun, passing the ball out, kicking it, dribbling, diving out at people’s feet – so I called Richard Hartis at United.
Farrell even with met with former Manchester United manager Sir Alex Ferguson
In the end – Farrell opted to make the switch to rugby and would make his debut for current club Saracens at the age of 17
‘I had never brought a player to United so it was a bit left field. I explained who Owen was and because Richard was from Leeds he knew who Andy was.
‘Owen had signed a pre-contract for Wigan Rugby League but I said that he had the qualities of a goalkeeper – good with the feet, good with the hands, brave, good distribution with the hands and an understanding of sport.’
Farrell and his father were given a tour of United’s training facilities and even met with Sir Alex Ferguson.
However, Farrell’s father Andy received an offer from Saracens, and the family opted to move down south.
That would prove to be a major turning point in his career, with Farrell opting to make the switch to rugby. He held the record of the youngest player ever to appear in English professional rugby union after playing for Saracens nearly two weeks after his 17th birthday, and the rest, they say, is history.