We have been here before, have we not? A sublime sporting talent wasting away on the west side of Manchester.
At least George Best got his glory days in first, winning the European Cup with United and the Ballon d’Or, the European footballer of the year trophy, before frittering away his brilliance in his mid-twenties. At 25, Danny Cipriani’s world-beating talents have been in suspension for four years now.
It was on 29 November 2008 that Cipriani won his last cap for England, as a 74th-minute replacement for Jamie Noon in a 32-6 defeat against the All Blacks at Twickenham. Five weeks away from the start of the 2013 Six Nations Championship, the once princely fly-half is about as far from a recall to the national No 10 shirt as he has ever been since Martin Johnson deemed him surplus to requirements in the summer of 2009.