Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
This article is about the current Manchester United footballer. For the former Arsenal footballer, see Alan M. Smith.
Alan Smith is a driven, hard-working footballer who got his start with his hometown and future club at age 10, when he entered the Leeds United Centre of Excellence. Alan eventually joined up with Leeds United proper in March of 1998.
His senior Premiership debut was as a substitute for Leeds v. Liverpool at Anfield, where he displayed his natural scoring ability to the Merseysiders and the world by scoring with his first touch of the ball. That goal helped propel him into the 1998/1999 season, as he was one-half of the first-choice striker pairing of manager David O'Leary, along with Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink.
The 5'10”, 152 pound bulldog continued his run through his beloved Leeds side as the club began to grow in stature. Smith showed his class in 2001 while helping to lead the Leeds side thorough the much vaunted Champions League, though his experience ended on a sour note as he was sent off in the semifinal. The following season saw Alan relegated to the midfield, his versatility working against him, as O'Leary tried to accommodate new signings. 2001 was also the year for Smith's break into the England squad. An England youth international at multiple levels, Smith made his senior England debut in May of 2001. Unfortunately, Alan did not make the final cut for the 2002 World Cup, and accepted a starring role with the England Under-21 side.
A hometown hero and a teen idol for supporters of hometown club Leeds, Smith was the poster boy for the club for the 2002-2004 seasons, winning his supporter's Player of the Year award two years running, a first in Leeds' history. Though his goal tally was not excellent by any means, his willingness to play any role on the pitch and his tireless efforts to save the Whites from relegation for two seasons was met with love from his adoring public. Smith announced his desire to leave the club due to relegation in May of 2004, ending his Leeds career by kissing the badge and crying at his last match. His transfer to bitter rivals Manchester United, however, led to controversy and his exit was marred by accusations of treachery.
Smith has impressed the Old Trafford fans since his arrival, with several prominent former players hailing him as something akin to the next Mark Hughes. Despite only being at the club for a few months, he has already developed a fearsome reputation for both long-ranged goals such as his strikes against Arsenal and Norwich City, and shorter tap-ins more akin to his hopeful regular strike partner Ruud van Nistelrooy such as the double against Dinamo Bucharest in the UEFA Champion's League.
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