David Pegg


Doncaster, Yorkshire








League Championship: 55/6, 56/7


1 England Cap (57)

With Tom Finney approaching the end of his illustrious career, David Pegg was seen by many as the man most likely, in the long term, to step into his international boots. Then came Munich. Although Albert Scanlon was keeping him out of the United side at the time of the disaster, there was plainly a great deal more to come from David, who was only 22 when he died.

A onetime schoolboy prodigy who had been a target for every top club, he made his debut in 1952/53 at the age of 17. He had become one of the most respected left-wingers in the Football League when he suffered a loss of form towards the end of 1957 which let Albert in. He also enjoyed an enviable reputation in Europe, being held in particularly high regard by Real Madrid, who are said to have once signed a new defender specifically to combat his talents.

David, who twice won Championship medals, was more of a ball-playing winger than an out-and-out runner. Full-backs found him elusive to mark as he was in the habit of jinking inside where he did much of his best work. On these penetrative sorties he was such a smooth mover that he seemed to glide over the ground, yet despite this delicate grace he possessed a left-foot shot of destructive force.

He was also a precise crosser of the ball, a boon to the likes of Dennis Viollet, with whom he formed a lethal partnership on the left flank, and centre-forward Tommy Taylor.

David Pegg had won only one full cap when he lost his life but England, as much as Manchester United, were robbed of a priceless asset on that bleak February day in 1958.

Taken without permission from Hamlyn's `Manchester United Player by Player' by Ivan Ponting.