What happened to the starlet Manchester United pinched from Preston in 2008?

Earlier this week, we covered the progress of playmaker Tyrhys Dolan, and why Preston should be excited about his progress.

Whilst researching that article, we stumbled across the name of James Weir, a former product of the Preston youth setup who was pinched away from North End before he could make a first-team debut.

Weir, born in Preston, came up through the ranks with North End before leaving to join Manchester United in 2008. Weir was touted for a bright future at Old Trafford, but what happened to him after that move?

James Weir of Hull City. (Photo by Robbie Jay Barratt – AMA/Getty Images)

Weir ended up spending eight years in the United setup, and even spent some time as captain of their Under-21’s whilst earning a first-team debut against Arsenal back in February 2016.

Just months later though, Weir was sold to Hull City in order to reunite with ex-United coach Mike Phelan. This was a move supposed to give Weir first-team football, but he only ever managed seven appearances for the Tigers.

A loan spell with Wigan Athletic didn’t exactly help, and he was released by Hull in 2019. Weir earned a move back to the North West in August, joining Bolton Wanderers – but it’s another move that didn’t really work out for him.

Bolton Wanderers’ James Weir (centre) breaks away from Accrington Stanley’s Phil Edwards (right). (Photo by Andrew Kearns – CameraSport via Getty Images)

Weir was released by the League One side in January of this year, having made just 12 appearances for the club. Now, he’s made a surprise move, heading over to Slovakia to join Pohronie in the Slovak Super Liga.

Pohronie were promoted to the top flight of Slovakian football last season, and currently sit bottom of the table. Weir is in danger of slipping into the second tier of Slovakian football when the coronavirus crisis ends, but he must be credited for taking a gamble and trying something with a move to Europe.

Weir’s career once showed great promise, but he hasn’t been able to live up to it. Nobody can really blame him for leaving Preston for United, given how the Red Devils are a dream move for many young players, but it’s sad to see that he hasn’t really managed to enjoy much prolonged success since leaving Preston.

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