On this day: Manchester United youngster Jimmy Davis dies in car crash

Today marks 10 years since Manchester United youngster Jimmy Davis died in a car crash.

Since the days of Sir Matt Busby, Manchester United have prided themselves on being a club that produces its own talent.

Even if said talent does not go on to make the grade at Old Trafford, many go on to have long careers in the Football League. Evidence of that was there for all to see last Saturday when the new season got underway, with a large number of those on show having developed their skills at United's Carrington training base.

Although it will never be known if Jimmy Davis would have become a Red Devils regular, he was held in high regard. He would certainly have made a name for himself somewhere.

Ten years ago today the 21-year-old lost his life as a result of a road traffic accident during the early hours of the morning in Oxfordshire. His BMW 3-series was involved in a collision with a DAF lorry and Davis was pronounced dead at the scene.

Watford supporters pay tribute to Jimmy Davis.© Getty Images

The 21-year-old had only just joined Watford on a loan basis, with the then Man United manager Sir Alex Ferguson saying: "You could not meet a nicer and more bubbly character than Jimmy Davis. He was a player with real potential, that's why we sent him to Watford this season. At 21 he had great promise. We are all really sad. It's terrible news."

Davis made his one and only appearance for United during a League Cup tie against Arsenal at Highbury in November 2001. A young side, with the exception of Phil Neville, Roy Carroll and Dwight Yorke, were comprehensively defeated 4-0 by the Gunners.

Danny Webber also turned out for United that night. The striker joined Watford in the same summer as Davis and believes that his friend had a real chance of becoming part of the senior squad at Old Trafford.

Jimmy Davis in action for Manchester United.© Getty Images

"There's no doubt in my mind that Jim would have had a very good career. He still had three years left on his contract at United. You don't know where that would have gone. He had the endeavour and the ability and the character to deal with it. He had all the attributes to be a top player," Webber, now of Accrington Stanley, recently told The Independent.

The inquest into Davis's death reported that he had been over the legal drink-drive limit, with his vehicle reaching speeds of up to 120mph. On that, Webber added: "Still to this day, I don't know where that came from. I don't run with it. I just know I don't look at that. It's not a factor in my head. It is what it is.

"If that's what people want to focus on that is up to them. But anybody who knew Jimmy would just laugh at it. He wasn't a risk-taker or a drinker. He was clean-living."

Manchester United players pay tribute to Jimmy Davis while lifting the FA Cup.© Getty Images

In tribute to their teammate, the United side that won the FA Cup at the expense of Millwall in 2004 wore shirts with his name and squad number on the back during their post-match celebrations.

Gary Neville said at the time: "Winning or losing today wasn't that important. Nine months ago, we had a teammate. We still think about him and we mention him regularly. Hopefully, what we did today will make Jimmy's parents smile for a moment."

Prior to Watford, Davis had loan spells with Royal Antwerp and Swindon Town, as well being a regular for England at youth level.

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