A talented young footballer who once had trials with Manchester United killed himself after suffering a series of long-term injuries, an inquest heard.

Joel Darlington was considered a star of the future, representing Wales at youth level and breaking through into Bala Town's Welsh Premier League side.

But a back injury and other problems left him suffering from anxiety and he dropped out of college courses which he had hoped would set him on a career as a fitness instructor.

The 20-year-old was found hanged in the family garage in Gellifor, near Ruthin, on March 18 and he left several notes indicating that he intended taking his own life.

At a hearing in Ruthin John Gittins, coroner for North Wales East and Central, recorded a conclusion of suicide.

His parents Shaun Darlington and Dawn Davies were not present at the hearing at which the coroner read a statement from Miss Davies outlining her son's sporting background.

A former pupil of Rhos Street Primary School and Ysgol Brynhyfryd, Ruthin, he played for local junior sides from a young age and his training impacted on his social life.

His trials with Manchester United ended when he broke his arm and he also had trials with Shrewsbury. He joined Bala Town's academy and was their top scorer in 2016-17. He left for a while to play for Denbigh Town but then returned to the Gwynedd Premiership club.

In June, 2017, he had a back pain which was diagnosed as possible scar tissue from a slipped disc, and when physiotherapy failed to improve things in the long-term he sought other solutions including acupuncture.

Mrs Davies said that Joel did not return to Yale College in October, 2018, and suffered from anxiety. He withdrew from social life but appeared more positive about his future.

On the day before his death he spoke positively to his father about his future.

However, when Mrs Davies returned from a trip to Wrexham she and her other son Kyran found the garage door locked. Kyran broke in and found Joel hanging from a beam.

Following his death Andy Kelly, Bala Town's academy administrator, described him as "an exceptional talent".

"He was a pleasure for me to watch and coach during my time with him," he said.

Wynne Davies, chairman of Ruthin Youth team, said that Joel had almost single-handedly won the League for the side when playing for the club's under-12s.

"He had two great feet and was equally comfortable dribbling and shooting with either," he said.