Brown has more to offer

Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is no stranger to raiding his former club, Manchester United, for talent. He was only too happy to offer Wes Brown a four-year contract at the Stadium of Light after a fee of around GBP1 million was agreed upon. If Brown can stay fit, it could prove to be one of the top signings of the summer. By Tom Leese.

Due to the emergence of Jonny Evans, the Da Silva twins and the signing of Chris Smalling, Wes Brown has found chances limited at Manchester United over the past couple of seasons.

The 31-year-old only played seven English Premier League games for the champions last season and finally decided it was time for a new challenge last week as he joined Sunderland in an effort to get regular first-team football.

Though his career has seen many injury problems, Brown has been a loyal servant to United, having been at the club since he signed for their academy at the age of 12. He made his debut as an 18-year-old against Leeds in 1998 and has been a solid performer ever since.

In his first full season in the first team he achieved more than most players do in their careers. He was part of a United team that dominated home and abroad, winning the treble of the EPL, the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. In the April of that year he also won his first England cap, playing in a 1-1 draw against Hungary that included four other England debutants.

But these highs were followed by a crushing low for Brown as he suffered a cruciate knee injury in pre-season for the 1999-2000 campaign. Brown didn't play a competitive match all season, as United cantered to another league title.

His comeback the following year gave him a regular first-team slot and he made 28 appearance on the way to claiming his second EPL winners' medal, and United's third in a row. His displays during the campaign prompted boss Alex Ferguson to call him “the best natural defender this club has had for years”.

Brown's good form continued and he won his third title in 2003, but there was another twist in his eventful career. He tore a knee ligament in the last game of that campaign, forcing him to miss half of the next season. Though he again came back to put in some commanding performances, Brown would continue to be hampered by niggling injuries.

The arrival of Nemanja Vidic in 2006 meant opportunities at centre-back were rare for Brown. But the 2007-08 season would be his most consistent yet, as he switched to right-back and played 36 out of 38 matches for United in the league.

Having secured his fifth league title, he then played a pivotal role in the club's third Champions League success, providing the cross for Cristiano Ronaldo's opening goal against Chelsea before United sealed victory on penalties.

The year 2008 was also his most successful for England, making seven appearances at right-back and scoring his only international goal against the Czech Republic in a 2-2 draw. He would only go on to play for his country twice more after that year before retiring from international duty in 2010 with 23 caps.

His club appearances have also been limited since 2008, with a combination of ankle injuries and stiff competition leaving him on the sidelines more often than not. The recent signing of 19-year-old Phil Jones from Blackburn dropped Brown further down the Old Trafford pecking order. Sunderland manager Steve Bruce is no stranger to raiding his former club, Manchester United, for talent. He was only too happy to offer him a four-year contract at the Stadium of Light after a fee of around GBP1 million was agreed upon. If Brown can stay fit, it could prove to be one of the top signings of the summer.

Brown is married to Leanne Wassell and the couple have two daughters. Brown has previously driven a BMW X5 and an Audi A6.

Name: Wes Brown Position: Defender Club: Sunderland D.O.B: 13/10/1979 England caps: 23 England goals: 1 England debut: v Hungary, 1999 Moment to remember:

Providing the inch-perfect cross for Cristiano Ronaldo's opening goal in the 2008 UEFA Champions League final.

Moment to forget:

Scoring an own goal at Anfield that helped bitter rivals Liverpool to a 2-1 victory

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