ONE of the men who carried out an alleyway attack on a stranger in Southampton was a former Saints youngster, a court was told.

Daniel McCauley was once a promising young football player who played in the Saints academy, Southampton Crown Court heard.

On leaving the academy, the court heard, McCauley became a fitnesses instructor at Riverside Leisure Park Leisure Centre.

But after suffering an injury, which left him unable to work, McCauley turned to illegal drugs.

The 29-year-old’s background was revealed during his sentencing.

McCauley was jailed for a total of six years for his part in an attack on a stranger in an alleyway in Southampton in June, as well as a separate incident of burglary.

His fellow attacker, Martin Tee, 42, was jailed for two years.

The court heard the attack took place around 8.30pm on June 7 as the victim walked in an alleyway which links James Weld Close to Carlton Road.

Prosecutor Tim Compton told the court how the man, who had gone to the shops to buy beer, felt a blow to the back of his head.

Mr Compton said: “

t was such a big blow he could not remember what happened after.”

Mitigating for McCauley, who has 30 convictions for 55 offences, Barry McElduff said his client had struggled from the impact of abuse of Class A drugs.

He said: “He showed a lot of promise at football in his younger years and was on the books at Southampton’s academy. He later got a job at Riverside Park Leisure Centre in Winchester as a fitness trainer, but suffered a bad injury to his knee and was no longer able to work.”

Mitigating for Tee, who has 18 convictions for 45, Damian Hayes said his client had also faced the impacts of Class A drug abuse.

Tee, who pleaded guilty to one count of causing grievous bodily harm without intent, was jailed for two years. McCauley, who pleaded guilty to one count of wounding with intent and a separate incident of burglary, was jailed for a total of six years.