LONDON (AFP) - A former Manchester United player was awarded more than 4.3 million pounds (5.4 million euros) damages at the High Court in London on Monday over a tackle which ended his career.
Ben Collett, described by United manager Sir Alex Ferguson as an "outstanding" player, never fully recovered from breaking his leg in two places following a tackle by Gary Smith of Middlesbrough during his first reserve match in 2003.
Collett, who received the Jimmy Murphy Young Player of the Year award and played in an FA Youth Cup winning team during his time at United, was released by the Premier League club in 2006 and eventually retired last year after brief spells at New Zealand Knights and AGOVV Apeldoorn.
The 23-year-old midfielder then launched his lawsuit against Middlesbrough and Smith in a bid for the compensation he was awarded at the High Court.
Both Smith and the club admitted liability for the "negligent" tackle and the judge's task was to decide on the level of compensation that Collett should receive from Middlesbrough's insurers.
Mrs Justice Swift said she had found that had it not been for the injury Collett would have been offered, in July 2003, a three-year professional contract with Manchester United.
The compensation will be even greater when sums for future loss of pension and interest on past loss of earnings are determined at a hearing set for October.
Justice Swift announced that when all of the figures were decided, the final sum to be awarded was not likely to be less than 4.5 million pounds (5.6 million euros).