One moment James Derbyshire is wearing the famous colours of Manchester United and dreaming of being the next big thing the next he is preparing for life at Miramar Rangers.
The 19-year-old midfielder has been released by the English Premier League champions after 10 years and has just signed with the Wellington football club. Derbyshire, who arrived in Wellington yesterday, made 12 appearances last season for the Red Devils’ reserves, who are coached by former Norwegian striker and Old Trafford legend Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
And with the Wellington Phoenix still chasing a couple more signings before the new A-League season starts, Derbyshire could give fans a reason to get excited.
“When the English PFA [Professional Footballers Association] contacted me about this, it was an opportunity I couldn’t really say no to,” Derbyshire said. “I thought it would be fantastic for me, experiencing a different type of football in a different country. I’m excited.”
Originally from Warrington, near Manchester, he joined United as a nine-year-old and was part of the club’s academies and youth teams until his release. Miramar coach John Cameron was on the lookout for a big signing when he was alerted to Derbyshire last week. The signing was made with help from Team Wellington, who contributed to the cost of bringing him out.
United’s official website describes Derbyshire as a “versatile and extremely useful player with plenty of skill”. His preferred position is in the central midfield. He said United was a “fantastic” club but it was time for a change.
“I’ll see what doors open for me but I’m really excited about it. I’m just eager to meet the boys here and play.” Although he would appear to be better suited to a bigger team, he and the Phoenix are being cautious about an A-League career. “I’m just seeing how things go. I don’t want to think about that just yet. I just want to do my job with Miramar Rangers for now.”
The Phoenix were unaware of his move to the capital, but chief executive Tony Pignata said yesterday: “A kid at that age and on our doorstep, we’ll be having a look at him.”