Former Man Utd and England star looks unrecognisable as he hangs out with James Milner at golf event | The Sun

LEEDS UNITED fans were left stunned last summer as James Milner shared a snap of himself alongside another former Elland Road favourite.

The Liverpool star, 37, was taking part in the Icons Golf Series at Liberty National Golf Club in New Jersey, USA in June when he got reacquainted with the now unrecognisable ex-Premier League ace.

And after posing together for a selfie on the golf course in their attire, it took some supporters quite a while to realise who the now tanned and bearded ace was alongside Milner.

One wrote: “Took a while for me to even recognise them. Think it's the hats, they just look like a couple of American ‘park rangers’ in those get ups.”

It was, of course, Alan Smith, the former striker who burst onto the scene for Leeds with a debut goal at Liverpool and went on to help them reach the Champions League semi-final.

“Looking great Smudge ! The other lad don’t look too bad either,” commented one fan.


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Another wrote: “Smith… wow. He looks better than ever!”

As another said: “Looking healthy Smithy.”

Smith, who won 19 England caps and scored one goal, started his career at Leeds and scored three minutes after coming off the bench for his debut aged 18 at Anfield to help seal a 3-1 victory.

He continued to thrive alongside young stars such as Lee Bowyer, Jonathan Woodgate and Rio Ferdinand and played a huge role in their run to the last-four of the Champions League in 2001.

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But as money issues began to engulf the club, a host of big names were sold off and he was part of the last Leeds side that was relegated from the Premier League back in 2004.

He famously burst into tears and kissed the badge on his shirt after the drop was confirmed against Bolton, but he infuriated fans weeks later when he controversially signed for rivals Manchester United for £7million.

Smith spent three years at Old Trafford during an injury-hit spell and collected a Premier League title there. 

He suffered a broken leg and a dislocated ankle when blocking the Liverpool defender John Arne Riise's shot during a FA Cup fifth-round clash against Liverpool at Anfield in 2006.

Sir Alex Ferguson described the incident – which left Smith with “about ten pins” in his ankle – as one of the worst injuries he had seen.

Smith, now 42, made his comeback for United seven months after the horrific injury and then went on to enjoy a five-year stint at Newcastle, making 84 top-flight appearances.

In 2012, after transforming into a midfielder, he started to drop down the divisions with MK Dons and then Notts County.

After retiring following his release from the then League Two Notts County, where he also had a spell as caretaker manager, he applied for a US visa so that he could move to Florida in his quest to coach youngsters.

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Smith's dream of coaching in America eventually came true with XL Soccer Academy in Orlando – where he serves as Academy Director.

Meanwhile Milner, who grew up a Leeds fan, also came through the club’s academy and made his breakthrough into the first-team in 2002, spending two years playing with Smith.

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