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PAY­ING £197m for a global su­per­star is all well and good, but some­times tal­ent is right un­der your own nose.

Re­mem­ber Wil­fried Zaha’s re­mark­able break­out sea­son in 2010-11? Or Danny Ings’ un­ex­pected emer­gence as a goal­ma­chine as Burn­ley clinched pro­mo­tion in 2014?

This year, that player could be David Brooks. Spar­ingly played by Sh­effield United last term, the 20-year-old mid­fielder was all set to join Chester­field on loan as part of the deal that brought Ched Evans back to Bra­mall Lane.

Then, in May, he was called up to Eng­land’s squad for the Un­der-20 Toulon Tour­na­ment. Brooks shone, scor­ing in the fi­nal against Cote D’Ivoire and win­ning player of the tour­na­ment.

United swiftly pulled the plug on that loan move and un­leashed Brooks on a string of un­sus­pect­ing pre-sea­son op­po­nents.

Four goals later, in­clud­ing a mem­o­rable solo ef­fort against the Spire­ites, Ever­ton lead a host of Premier League clubs ea­gerly eye­ing the former Manch­ester City trainee.

Gaffer Chris Wilder has spent the sum­mer point­edly ig­nor­ing ques­tions about Brooks, in­sist­ing the leggy play­maker’s tar­get is purely to win a first-team berth.

Pri­vately, how­ever, he is as ex­cited as any Blades fan by the young­ster’s emer­gence. Less flam­boy­ant than the teenage Zaha, Brooks still pos­sesses the same re­fresh­ing fear­less­ness, com­bin­ing ath­leti­cism with an in­stinc­tive eye for goal.

If he adds fit­ness and con­sis­tency, the di­vi­sion could have a new star.

TAL­ENT: David Brooks

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