Norman Whiteside is perhaps the most outstanding Northern Irish footballer since George Best. He played with distinction for Manchester United for almost a decade and represented Northern Ireland in two World Cup finals before injury caused his career to end prematurely.
Born in Belfast on May 7, 1965, Whiteside was a teenage prodigy and made his league debut for Manchester United at the age of only 16 in April 1982. A few months later he became the youngest player ever to appear in the World Cup finals when he made his Northern Ireland debut against Yugoslavia aged only 17 years and 42 days, beating the record of the legendary Brazilian Pele.
He was strong and tall, but had rare touch and skill, illustrated by his winning goal for Manchester United against league champions Everton in the 1985 FA Cup final. He also won the FA Cup with United in 1983, and made 272 appearances for the club in total. Injuries took their toll early, however, and, after leaving United in 1989 for a brief spell at Everton, Whiteside was forced to retire at the age of 27.
Norman Whiteside also made 38 appearances for Northern Ireland, and helped the legendary 1982 side to reach the quarter finals of the World Cup. He is now a qualified physiotherapist and sports injury specialist.