A man has been arrested after a former England schoolboy footballer died aged 20 following a collision with a vehicle at a “car meet”.
Sam Harding, a central midfielder from Stockport, was taken to hospital following the incident in Warrington, Cheshire, on Sunday night, but later died.
Cheshire Police said a 21-year-old man from Morley, Leeds, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of causing death by dangerous driving.
In a tribute, Mr Harding’s family said: “Our beautiful son was tragically taken away from us on Sunday 10 April 2022.
“A much loved son, brother, grandson, nephew and friend to many. We will never ever forget you Sam and will love you forever. Rest in peace sweet angel, love Mum, Dad and Amy xx.”
Harding played for a number of non-league clubs, including Ashton Athletic and FC United of Manchester and was previously capped for England Schoolboys.
In a tweet, Ashton Athletic said: “Ashton Athletic are devastated to hear the news of the passing of 2021/22 first team player Sam Harding.
“Sam was only at our club for one season and was a huge factor in our improved form since his arrival. He was a quiet, well-mannered young man and he will be sorely missed by everyone at the club.
“All our thoughts and prayers go out to his family and friends at this terrible time. RIP Sam.”
His former club, FC United of Manchester, also paid tribute to him.
Academy manager Tom Conroy said: “Technically Sam was one of the best academy players we have ever had and that was proven when he was successful in England schoolboy trials earning caps for his country.
“Sam is always spoken about to future academy players as a perfect example of the type of player we want at the club not only with regards to the standard of footballing ability but the type of person he was – kind, polite, hard working and professional .
“He will be sadly missed and I would like to pass my love and condolences to Sam’s family.”
Cheshire Police said it was called to reports of a collision between a car and a pedestrian on Kingsland Grange, Woolston, at about 9.40pm on Sunday.
The force is appealing for witnesses and anyone with video footage to come forward.
Sergeant Simon Degg, from the Serious and Complex Collision Investigation Unit, said: “Inquiries in relation to this incident are in the early stages and we are committed to doing everything we can to establish what has taken place.
“We know that there were a large number of people present at the ‘car meet’ and as part of our investigation we are keen to hear from anyone who witnessed the collision.
“The same goes for anyone with any video footage from the event – both of the collision itself and before and after the incident.
“I’d urge anyone with any information, no matter how small, to get in touch.”
Anyone with any information or video footage which may help the investigation should contact Cheshire Police at https://www.cheshire.police.uk/police-forces/cheshire-constabulary/areas/cheshire/about-us/about-us/provide -more-information-about-an-appeal/ or phone 101, quoting IML 1242714.
Information can also be reported anonymously via Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.