Tale of former England captain David Beckham coming close to signing for Norwich City rears its head again

David Beckham trained with Norwich City briefly as a youngster. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire

David Beckham trained with Norwich City briefly as a youngster. Picture: Sean Dempsey/PA Wire - Credit: PA

'Did you know that David Beckham could have joined Norwich City?' It's a question which seems to rear its head once every few years in these parts.

David Beckham, pictured in action in 2007, won 115 England caps. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire

David Beckham, pictured in action in 2007, won 115 England caps. Picture: Nick Potts/PA Wire - Credit: PA

Someone, somewhere, will spot that the Manchester United and England legend had spent a brief spell with the Canaries as a youngster and imply that 'it all could have been so different' for the superstar football demigod.

The latest resurfacing comes courtesy of the Daily Mirror in an interview with former Totteham and Liverpool scout Mel Johnson, the man credited with bringing Gareth Bale to the attention of Spurs.

'Beckham played in the Canary Cup tournament at Norwich City,' Johnson said, apparently speaking to Sky Bet. 'He was playing for his local side.

'Norwich tried to court Beckham, but he was in to Manchester United so that was out of the question.

David Beckham in England action in October 2009. Picture: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire

David Beckham in England action in October 2009. Picture: Rebecca Naden/PA Wire - Credit: PA


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'It was only a few years later that I was speaking to the guy who ran the tournament and I asked 'what happened to that right-winger I told you to watch?'.

''Don't you remember his name,' he replied. 'It's David Beckham'.'

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This may seem like juicy insight but it has been reported by our newspapers on several occasions in the past, with the likelihood of Beckham actually joining City about as fleeting as Ipswich Town's promotion hopes in the past 15 years.

More: Hugh Jackman and David Beckham talk Norwich City on Graham Norton Show

The boy who would go on to become known as 'Golden Balls' trained with Norwich as an 11-year-old back in 1987, when he was still playing for his first youth club in Enfield, Ridgeway Rovers.

The youngster, who would go on to win 115 England caps, win six Premiership titles and a Champions League winners medal with Manchester United and play for Real Madrid, AC Milan and Paris Saint-Germain impressed former Norwich youth coach Kit Carson.

Speaking to the EDP back in 2002, Carson explained: 'The 12 boys came and they stayed at a youth hostel in Norwich. We trained every day at Trowse, and I enlisted the help of two young players, Robert Ullathorne and Jason Minnett.

'In general, these Essex lads were a nightmare, complete scallywags, but one boy stood out unbelievably as an absolute gem, both on and off the ball, and that was David Beckham.

'He was not only a fantastic kid in training, but his behaviour was excellent. He was very well dressed and well mannered. It's a silly thing to remember, but he always came down for his evening meal with a clean shirt on. He looked after himself properly, whereas some of these boys didn't wash from the day they came.

'I knew from the Tuesday or Wednesday that I hoped I would never meet 11 of these boys again in a football capacity, but I knew that this was the boy we should get to Norwich City.

'On the last day, I had to assess the boys and I deliberately left David Beckham until last. In each report, I politely told them that they did not have what it took, and then I got to David.

'I told him straight that I had seldom met such a brilliant young footballer, and that in my opinion he would become a really great player. I said, 'I would like you to join Norwich City immediately'.

'He went red and he said, 'I'm really sorry, but I have already signed at Manchester United'.

'I said, 'Why did you come here?' and he said, 'I thought it would be a different experience at a professional football club and I would learn from it. I have had a lovely week, so thank you very much'.

'I said, 'If you ever get a rejection from Manchester United, there is always a place at Norwich City for you'.

'When he got back, he wrote me a thank you letter which I stupidly binned when I cleared out my files at Norwich. His parents also wrote to me. They were really charming people.'

Beckham also turned down London clubs including Tottenham, Wimbledon and Leyton Orient to sign for the Red Devils and the rest is history.

Beckham never played against the Canaries but was back in Norwich in 2014 though, with left-back Harry Toffolo making sure he took the opportunity to get a photo with England's most-capped outfield player of all time.

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