| Last updated
It has been 13 years since a highly-rated youngster left his Brisbane home in Australia to embark on a life-changing, 11,000-mile journey to Manchester.
Rhain Davis was only nine years old when he said 'yes' to one of the world's biggest clubs.
"I have so many great memories from my time at Manchester United, far too many to remember," he tells SPORTbible. "To be playing football five times a week with my friends... I couldn't have asked for more."
Davis would play in a youth team with the likes of Marcus Rashford and Axel Tuanzebe. He witnessed Scott McTominay progress in the year above and was around first-team players like Cristiano Ronaldo and Wayne Rooney on a daily basis.
He even remembers chatting to the great Sir Alex on several occasions.
"I think he was the person I was most apprehensive to meet," he recalls about meeting Ferguson. "You hear all the stories don't you, but he was great and was always good to the academy players and really did want us to progress into the first team."
But after eight promising years at Old Trafford, Davis' young career was turned upside down when he suffered a horror broken leg during a youth game.
The young centre midfielder struggled to get back to full fitness and at the age of 16, he was officially released from the club to seek opportunities elsewhere.
So how did this incredible journey come to light? And where is he now?
Rhain's grandad is the unsung hero of this story.
In 2007, he sent a compilation of his grandson's best moments at local side Redlands United to several clubs around England and by chance, Manchester United were the first club to get in touch.
"Our games in Australia were recorded so my dad put together the video of in-game footage, which we then passed on to my English grandad," Rhain says.
"My parents had planned on returning to the UK anyway, so I think the fact I had signed merely sped up the process. United were the first to get into contact and that was that really."
The club were clearly impressed by what they'd seen. In a statement shortly after he joined the ranks at United, a spokesman gave fans a glimpse of his talent.
"We regularly get sent videos and DVDs of youngsters showing their skills, but it's rare they are of the quality that we need."
Davis, who was now picking up millions of views on YouTube after the highlights package was posted online, soon made his way over to Manchester from his Brisbane home.
Shortly after his first training session, United decided to snap him up. He signed a deal and "never looked back".
"It was all a bit of blur to be honest," Rhain says.
"Back then, I don't think I was concerned about what was going on around me. I was just bothered about playing. I remember my dad asking whether I'd like to return home to Australia to say goodbye properly, and I had said no and stayed to play.
"I think that's what most nine-year-olds would have done."
"In the very early days the coaches and, more importantly, my parents did a great job of shielding me from everything.
"It wasn't until later on that I really realised what had actually happened. Of course it's nice to know that's how I was viewed, but these media outlets are always associating the big names with stories so they sell, so it's something that hasn't really concerned me."
Rhain would go on to spend six exciting years with United at youth level, where he would establish himself as a regular alongside some of the most talented players in England.
But sadly, it was a broken leg that shattered his dream of playing at the very highest level.
"Unfortunately, these things happen all the time in football," he tells us. "But I'd class myself as one of the lucky ones who was able to balance two career paths,
"I am grateful to have parents who understand [the cruelty of] life. Despite supporting my football every step of the way, they were always honest with me. They ensured that I got a good education, which I pursued after my time at United."
Following his release from the club, Davis decided to concentrate on his studies and during that period, Neil Tolson, who was assistant manager at Altrincham at the time, offered him a chance to play non-league football.
He agreed and played a number of games for the National League side while at school.
After picking up his A-Level results, the teenager decided to put his football career on hold. Rhain moved over the Pennines to study at the University of Sheffield.
It was here, during his final year of study, where a former Manchester United coach offered him an exciting return to football.
Rene Meulensteen, a friend of the Davis family, invited the former United midfielder back over to Australia to train with A-League side Central Coast Mariners (CCM).
He took a year off and almost signed for the club but the departure of Mike Phelan, who was the club's sporting director at the time, played a pivotal role in the deal being scuppered.
"I travelled back to the UK for Christmas, where manager Mike Mulvey and I agreed that I would return back to Australia after Christmas and sign with the CCM." Davis told us.
"Unfortunately, during this short time, Mike Phelan left his role at the club and returned to Manchester United under Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. Mike Mulvey also left the club as manager and as nothing was officially signed, this left me not going back to Australia.
"Again, these unforeseen circumstances are just part and parcel of football."
Despite the disappointment of his short spell in Australia, Rhain returned to Sheffield and recently graduated with a first-class honours in Business Management and Economics.
He now hopes to seek a successful career in finance.
"Football has been such an important part of my life and will absolutely continue to be," Rhain says.
"I guess the fickle nature of the game works both ways; you never know who might call and where that might take you. But for now, I am excited to find out where my education can take me. Post-coronavirus, I begin the journey to seek a successful career in finance.
"I am looking forward to seeing where both paths will take me."
Featured Image Credit: @RhainDavis1
Chosen for YouChosen for You
Most Read StoriesMost Read