Carlisle United have added the versatile Joe Riley to their ranks on a one-year deal (with an option) which keeps him at Brunton Park until at least the summer of 2021.
Blackpool-born Riley, 23, was snapped up by giants Manchester United as a youngster and he blossomed as he came through the ranks, finding himself utilised in both the left back and midfield areas.
He made his way into the first team squad under Louis van Gaal, as part of the Europa League squad, and he made his debut at the same time as Marcus Rashford when the Red Devils Beat Midjtylland in a 5-1 rout in that same competition.
A loan spell with Sheffield United in January 2017 was blighted by injury. He joined Bradford City on a two-year deal in the summer of 2018.
Manager Chris Beech said: “Joe was at Manchester United from the age of eight. He was given his debut by Louis Van Gaal and he was also one of the younger players to be named by Jose Mourhino on the bench as he moved up to the first team group.
“He went out on loan to Sheffield United with Chris Wilder, but after a couple of games he was injured in a freak training ground accident. He later joined Bradford in League One, but it didn’t really work for him.
“They got relegated to League Two and he suffered another freak injury stretching for a ball in pre-season, and he missed most of his available game time.”
“Joe found himself out of contract in the current climate, having not played any football due to that injury,” he continued. “He’s worked his socks off on his fitness and is now more motivated, hungry and determined than ever. He really wants to make his mark in the game.
“I also see the characteristics I’ve spoken about many times that I’m looking for in players we recruit in Joe. Technically he’s outstanding - his touch, movement, ball control, range of passing and technical skills are definitely up there.
“He came through at Manchester United as a right back, but he’s got great feet so he’s equally at home playing left back. As a younger player he played in midfield. His energy levels and change of pace are a joy to watch, so I can see why that was the case.
“Carlisle will provide Joe with the perfect platform to kick on and fulfil that potential. He’s another we will support and make better in terms of footballing experience.
“At 23 he’s the right age, in the right place, at the right time.”