Sold by Leeds for £500,000 at 14, on the scrapheap at 21, a new career at 22
By Harry Sykes
Former Leeds youth star George Swan has become Britain’s youngest football agent at the age of 22.
The former Elland Road defender quit playing due to injury a year ago and took three months to get over the heartache of early retirement.
But Swan has bounced back from being on the football scrapheap by launching into a new career as an agent for other players.
It is quite a turnaround for the former prospect, who was widely considered to be a star of the future when Manchester City paid Leeds £500,000 for him in 2009 as part of an £800,000 double deal that also took fellow 14-year-old Louis Hutton to Etihad Stadium.
“I was supposed to be a hot prospect,” Swan told the Mirror. “When you are 14 years of age and City spend £500,000 on you, you don’t think seven years later you are going to be finished in the game.
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“You don’t take it for granted – but I’d had so many bad injuries I just couldn’t take another one and decided to call it a day. I’d been on loan at Sheffield Wednesday, signed a permanent deal at Wolves and the last stop was York City.
“I’d done my cruciate ligament, broke my leg, torn my groin…I couldn’t get myself fit and was getting left behind.
“When I had my knee problem I’d wake up some nights wondering if I’d been sleeping on it and whether it would have swollen up by the morning. It’s no way to live with that hanging over you all the time.
“Manchester City were great. I eventually ended up at York but I’d had another operation. I phoned my dad and said: ‘I’ve had enough.’
“When you are in football, you’re in a bubble. I couldn’t do anything for two or three months. I couldn’t watch a game on the television, .
“It took me that long to get over the heartache. Then I went to a dinner with my agents and they said: ‘Why don’t you come on board with us?’”
Swan picked up 10 GCSEs during his apprenticeship at City, where he had a private tutor two days a week and worked 10-hour days to make up for time lost in training.
Now in the infancy of his career as an agent at Sports International Management, the former centre-back already has one deal under his belt and is planning plenty more this summer as he learns a different side of the business.
Swan acted as the intermediary for goalkeeper Ian Lawlor’s transfer from City to Doncaster two months ago.
Meanwhile, Leeds are back in action on Saturday when they travel to Championship play-off rivals Reading for a Saturday evening kick-off.
In other Leeds transfer news, the club have sealed an out-of-window midfielder transfer.