Not much doubt who United defender Rhys Day will be supporting in the World Snooker Championships, which start this weekend.

His older brother Ryan, sixth in the world rankings, hopes to go one better after reaching the quarter-finals for the past two years.

And as well as rooting for 30-year-old Ryan on television, U's centre back Rhys, 28, hopes to nip up to the Crucible in Sheffield to watch him in action, as he has done every year.

Ryan Day’s opening match in the 2010 championships is against England’s Mark Davis, who is ranked 47, next Wednesday.

The Day family grew up in Pontycymer, near Bridgend, south Wales.

“We went into our different sports from about the same age,” said Rhys.

“I’ve played football since about the age of six and it was when I was about 12 or 13, playing for a boys club, that a phone came from Cardiff City, asking me along. I can remember it, my dad taking the call and giving me a thumbs-up.

“Ryan had played snooker ever since he could pick up a cue but he too was about 12 or 13 when it became more serious and dad took him around the country, competing in different events.”

Rhys went on to begin his foot-ball career at Manchester City, but never broke into their first team.

He joined Mansfield and played around 100 times for both the Stags and then Aldershot, captaining the Shots to the Conference title in 2008.

Chris Wilder snapped him up last July. Day began the season as first-choice centre half, got injured and lost his place to Mark Creighton, then regained the shirt after Christmas, only for Creighton to reclaim it once more.

Ryan, meanwhile, reached the 1998 World Amateur final, where he was unfortunate to lose 11-10 to England's Luke Simmons.

He turned professional a year later and made his mark on the pro game by winning the 20001 B&H Championship at Wembley.

Something of a late developer as far as snooker players go, however, it has only been in the last two or three years that Ryan, always one of the most prolific break builders in the game, has been a mainstay in the top 16.

In the 2008 World Champion-ships, he notched up one of the best wins of his career in the second round by beating defending champion John Higgins 13-9. But in the quarters, he lost to a resurgent Stephen Hendry.

He reached the quarter-finals again last year, beating Stephen Lee and Nigel Bond, only to go down 13-11 to Mark Allen, who had also beaten Ronnie O’Sullivan.

Said Rhys: “Every season he’s been a pro, he has progressed up the rankings, and a lot of pundits reckon he’s one of the most gifted players not to have won a ranking tournament. Maybe he just needs to add that bit of steel.

“In every major event he’s been in the last couple of years I've put £50 on him to win. He hasn’t done it yet, but I know he will soon.”

So what is Rhys like at snooker, and Ryan, who has made more than a century of centuries, and a 145, like at football?

“My highest break is 43, which I made against my little brother George,” said Rhys, who also has a sister, Megan.

And in which sport is there greater pressure?

“In the actual event, like the world championships, there’s a lot more pressure on him. If I mess up, there’s another three defenders and the keeper to get me out of trouble, while he’s on his own.”

Rhys added: “I suppose the perfect double would be for us to go up by winning the play-offs, and Ryan to win in Sheffield. Now that would be a double party.”