Lucas Neill

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Lucas Neill
Lucas Neill.jpg
Neill with Australia in 2007
Personal information
Full name Lucas Edward Neill
Date of birth (1978-03-09) 9 March 1978 (age 36)
Place of birth Sydney, Australia
Height 185 cm (6 ft 1 in)
Playing position Defender
Youth career
1991–1993 Manly United
1994–1995 AIS
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
1995–2001 Millwall 152 (13)
2001–2007 Blackburn Rovers 188 (5)
2007–2009 West Ham United 79 (1)
2009–2010 Everton 12 (0)
2010–2011 Galatasaray 39 (1)
2011–2012 Al Jazira 19 (3)
2012–2013 Al Wasl 4 (0)
2013 Sydney FC 3 (0)
2013 Omiya Ardija 9 (0)
2014 Watford 1 (0)
2014 Doncaster Rovers (loan) 4 (0)
National team
1996–1997 Australia U20 8 (3)
1999–2000 Australia U23 13 (0)
1996– Australia 96 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:02, 3 May 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 9 December 2013

Lucas Edward Neill (born 9 March 1978) is an Australian professional footballer who last played for Watford. Neill played as a defender, often playing as a centre back as well as a full back. Neill spent almost 15 years of his career playing in England. He represented Australia at the 2006 FIFA World Cup, the 2007 AFC Asian Cup, the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa, and also the 2011 AFC Asian Cup in Qatar. On 6 October 2006 he was named the 50th captain of the Australian national team. He also played for Millwall, Blackburn Rovers, West Ham United, Everton, Galatasaray, Al Jazira, Al Wasl, Sydney FC, Omiya Ardija, Watford FC and Doncaster Rovers.

Early life[edit]

Neill's father moved to Australia from Northern Ireland, where he had played for local football clubs Brantwood F.C., Linfield F.C., and Cliftonville F.C..[1] Neill grew up in the Northern Beaches of Sydney and was a student at Wakehurst Public School in Belrose and St Augustine's College in Brookvale, before attending the Australian Institute of Sport on a football scholarship in 1994–95.[2]

Club career[edit]

Millwall[edit]

Neill joined Millwall on a free transfer in November 1995, making his debut on 17 February against Luton Town in 1996.[3] In almost six years at The Den, he made 174 appearances in all competitions, scoring 13 goals.[4] In September 2001, Neill, by then the longest serving player at the club, submitted a transfer request[3] and shortly after, signed for Blackburn Rovers for an initial fee of £600,000 plus up to £400,000 more depending on appearances.[5]

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

Neill played his first game for Blackburn in September 2001 against Sunderland and scored his first Blackburn goal later that month against Bolton Wanderers. Neill is a combative, versatile player. He has played in all defensive positions during his professional career and is a key member for both his club and national team.

Neill was well regarded by Blackburn Rovers supporters largely due to his never-say-die, determined attitude. He was one of Blackburn Rovers' most consistent performers and held the right back position for over five years without any competition.

Neill's combative and committed style of play in the Premier League attracted criticism in 2003–04 at a time when Blackburn had been criticised routinely for their aggressive play. He broke the leg of Liverpool defender Jamie Carragher when his trailing leg caught that of the Liverpool player in the fifth game of the 2003–04 season in a tackle at Ewood Park. Carragher, a popular home-grown Liverpool player, was sidelined for six months and the incident sparked a war of words between Gérard Houllier and Graeme Souness after Neill and his manager did not apologise for 48 hours[citation needed].

Johan Neeskens, who became assistant to Barcelona manager Frank Rijkaard for the 2006–07 season, said that Neill "could play for any of the best clubs".[6] On 4 August 2006 he announced he would not sign a new four-year contract for Blackburn Rovers. The player's agent, Peter Harrison, said "He has enjoyed his time there (Blackburn), he loves the club and the fans, he just feels it is time for a change."[7] On 30 August, Liverpool reportedly made a £2 million bid for Neill; however, this bid was rejected by Blackburn. The club wanted Stephen Warnock in part exchange for Neill; however Liverpool were not prepared to let the left back go.[8] In late November, rumours emerged that Chelsea were also interested in his signature.[9] Neill, once a cult hero at Blackburn left under something of a storm and is now extremely unpopular amongst Blackburn fans. He was booed and barracked on his return to Ewood Park in March 2007.[10]

West Ham United[edit]

Neill playing for West Ham.

In January 2007 Neill turned his back on an un-confirmed bid from Liverpool in favour of West Ham United, following the successful transfer of Stephen Warnock from Liverpool to Blackburn.[11] Neill was accused of his primary motivating factor being money, but he later refuted these claims, stating the move was for purely footballing reasons.[12] Neill later alleged to the media that Liverpool had not made him feel truly wanted, and that he had not even spoken to manager Rafael Benítez. Neill made his league debut for the Hammers in February 2007 against Watford, where he picked up a knee injury.[13] He captained the team for the first time during a 3–4 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur the following month and went on to play every remaining game of the season. He became the permanent team captain following Nigel Reo-Coker's transfer to Aston Villa.[14] Neill made his first appearance as team captain in the 1–1 draw against Wigan Athletic on 25 August 2007.[15] Neill scored his only goal for West Ham in a 3–2 away defeat to West Brom in September 2008.[16] At the end of the 2008–09 season Neill rejected a one-year contract extension with West Ham, becoming a free agent.[17]

Everton[edit]

Neill and national team-mate Tim Cahill playing for Everton in 2009

On 17 September 2009, Neill joined close friend[18] Tim Cahill at Everton on a free transfer, signing a one-year deal.[19] He was unveiled to the fans at half time during Everton's 4–0 Europa League win at Goodison Park against AEK Athens.

Neill played his first game for Everton on 23 September 2009 in the League Cup, coming on as a second half substitution for Leighton Baines, in their 4–0 victory over Hull City.[20] Neill's first start for Everton in the Premier League was on 25 October 2009 where he played a full match against Bolton Wanderers setting up two goals.

Galatasaray[edit]

On 13 January 2010, Neill agreed to join Turkish side Galatasaray.[21] It is believed Neill wanted to leave Everton to secure a longer contract.[22] Neill signed a one-and-a-half-year contract with Galatasaray,[23] linking up with Socceroo teammate Harry Kewell. Neill made his Turkish Super Lig debut for Galatasaray on 24 January 2010 in a 1–0 home win at the Ali Sami Yen Stadium against Gaziantepspor.[24] Neill along with Kewell and several others were released at the end of the 2010–11 season.

Al Jazira[edit]

On 19 August 2011 it was announced he had signed a one-year contract with UAE Pro League Club Al Jazira.[25][26] On 2 June 2012 it was announced he had been released by the club.[27]

Al Wasl[edit]

He signed in August 2012 one-year contract with Al Wasl.[28] In January 2013, Neill was released from Al Wasl after the club signed Ahmad Ibrahim Khalaf, thus replacing Neill as an import player.[29]

Sydney FC[edit]

In February 2013 Neill signed with Sydney FC.[30] He made his A-League debut for Sydney FC against Melbourne Heart on 24 February 2013 at AAMI Park in Melbourne.[31] Neill played just four games of his ten game guest stint at Sydney FC.

Omiya Ardija[edit]

On 18 August 2013, Neill signed with Japanese team Omiya Ardija. [32] He signed a four-month deal for the remainder of the Japanese season. In November 2013, at the end of the Japanese football season, Neill was not offered a contract extension, and had to start looking for another club. He offered his services to all the A-League clubs but did not receive any offers.[33]

Watford[edit]

On 24 February 2014 Neill signed for Championship team, Watford for the remainder of the 2013-14 season,[34] but made only one appearance, as an 84th minute substitute in a 3-0 home win against Barnsley on 15 March before being released in June 2014 effectively ending his career a player.[35]

Doncaster Rovers (loan)[edit]

Not needed for cover as Watford's injury worries eased, Neill moved to Doncaster Rovers on 26 March 2014 on a loan until 22 April 2014,[36] subsequently extended for the remainder of the 2013–14 season.[37] Neill made four appearances for the club.

International career[edit]

In October 1996, Neill became the third-youngest player, after Duncan Cummings and Harry Kewell, to debut for the Australian national team[38] when he played in a friendly game against Saudi Arabia in Riyadh, aged 18 years and 7 months.[39] He also competed at the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney with the Australian men's team, the Olyroos.

On 16 November 2005 at Sydney's ANZ Stadium, Neill helped Australia qualify for the 2006 FIFA World Cup playing the entire game and scoring the Socceroos' second penalty in a shoot-out against Uruguay, after aggregate scores were tied at 1–1 following extra-time. He was named Man of the Match for this game.[40]

Neill started all four of Australia's games at the 2006 World Cup. In the closing minutes of Australia's Round of 16 game against Italy, referee Luis Medina Cantalejo adjudged Neill to have fouled Italian full back Fabio Grosso in the penalty area. Francesco Totti converted the ensuing penalty kick to score and give the Italians a 1–0 victory, knocking Australia out of the cup.[41]

Following the World Cup, on 6 October 2006 was named as the 50th player to captain Australia. On 7 October 2006 he made his debut as the Socceroos' captain in a 1–1 friendly against Paraguay, in Brisbane. Four days later, in Sydney, he captained Australia again in an Asian Cup qualifying game against Bahrain, which Australia won 2–0.[42] On 2 June 2007, Neill captained the Socceroos again in a friendly match against Uruguay at Sydney's Telstra Stadium in which Australia lost 2–1.

On 13 July 2007, in the dying seconds of the Socceroo's 3–1 loss to Iraq, Neill verbally abused the referee. He received his second yellow card and was sent off, capping a disappointing performance by the Australian side. In the quarter finals of the Asian Cup, Neill missed a crucial penalty in a shootout against Japan which resulted in Australia's elimination from the cup.[43] Neill played his 50th game for Australia in a World Cup Qualifier against Japan, a game that Australia won 2–1 with Tim Cahill scoring both goals. In June 2013 Neill scored his first international goal with a header in a World Cup qualifying match against Jordan. The game finished 4-0. This was his 91st appearance for Australia.[44]

In the final part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification (AFC), Neill came under much criticism in the media and from fans. It was during this period that Neill spent a considerable period unable to find a new club contract after not managing to secure an extension to his contract with Sydney FC. The nub of the criticism was that Neill continued to be selected as Socceroos captain, in spite of not having regular game time at a club, and having been dropped by two Middle Eastern clubs, Al Jazira Club and Al Wasl FC, and having made minimal impact in his short time in Australia's domestic A-League. With these criticisms hanging over his head, the issue of Neill's age-related lack of pace was highlighted when the Socceroos were defeated 6-0 in a friendly against Brazil on 7 September 2013, and again defeated 6-0 against France on 11 October 2013. Fox Sports (Australia) prepared a video analysis of the 12 goals scored against the Socceroos by France and Brazil in the two friendlies, identifying Neill's role in the lack of defence for the bulk of those goals. Sections of the press and social media called for Neill to retire with commentator Robbie Slater stating Neill should be stood down as Socceroos captain [45] Another media commentator Mark Bosnich described Neill as "part of the problem" for the successive 6-0 losses, given Neill's lack of pace in defence. Neill responded to the criticism, refusing to contemplate retirement, instead appearing to lay the blame at the feet of the younger players of the squad.[46][47] In that media interview, Neill was quoted as saying: "I add value to the team and I bring a lot of good attributes but I am the victim ...".

On 6 May 2014, it was revealed that Socceroos team boss Ange Postecoglou had advised Neill that he would not be part of Australia’s squad at the 2014 World Cup.[48]

Controversy[edit]

In 2011 Les Murray, an Australian football journalist, published a book entitled "The World Game: The Story of How Football Went Global" in which Murray cited an undisclosed source in alleging that Neill had instigated a mutiny just before the Germany vs. Australia game at the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Murray alleged that Neill had asked his coach, Pim Verbeek, to leave the room, before describing Verbeek's game-plan as "bullshit" and erasing what the Dutchman had written on a whiteboard, telling the team to play like they normally do. The publication of this story was followed by responses from team members who had been eyewitnesses of the actual events, including Craig Moore, Eugene Galeković and Mile Jedinak, clarifying that such an event, as portrayed in Murray's book, had never occurred. Neill himself protested that before the Germany game it was Mark Schwarzer, and not Neill himself, who had given the team pep talk. A few days after the allegations hit the news, Les Murray retracted his allegations with a full apology, with an undertaking that future editions of his book would have the relevant portion deleted.[citation needed]

Career statistics[edit]

As of 3 May 2014.[49][50]

Club[edit]

Club Season League Cup[51] Continental Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Millwall 1995–96 13 0 0 0 0 0 13 0
1996–97 39 4 5 0 0 0 44 4
1997–98 6 0 1 0 0 0 7 0
1998–99 35 6 9 0 0 0 44 6
1999-00 31 1 4 0 0 0 35 1
2000–01 24 2 1 0 0 0 25 2
2001–02 4 1 1 0 0 0 5 1
Total 152 14 21 0 0 0 173 14
Blackburn Rovers 2001–02 31 1 4 0 0 0 35 1
2002–03 34 0 7 0 4 0 45 0
2003–04 32 2 2 0 1 0 35 2
2004–05 36 1 8 0 0 0 44 1
2005–06 35 1 7 2 0 0 42 3
2006–07 20 0 1 0 5 1 26 1
Total 188 5 29 2 10 1 227 8
West Ham United 2006–07 11 0 1 0 0 0 12 0
2007–08 34 0 6 0 0 0 40 0
2008–09 34 1 3 0 0 0 36 1
Total 78 1 10 0 0 0 88 1
Everton 2009–10 12 0 2 0 0 0 14 0
Total 12 0 2 0 0 0 14 0
Galatasaray 2009–10 14 1 2 0 2 0 18 1
2010–11 25 0 2 0 4 0 29 0
Total 37 1 4 0 6 0 47 1
Al Jazira 2011–12 19 3 1 1 3 0 23 4
Total 19 3 1 1 3 0 23 4
Al Wasl 2012–13 11 0 1 1 0 0 15 1
Total 11 0 1 1 0 0 15 1
Sydney FC 2012-13 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Total 3 0 0 0 0 0 3 0
Omiya Ardija 2013 9 0 0 0 0 0 9 0
Total 9 0 0 0 0 0 9 0
Watford 2014 1 0 1 0
Total 1 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
Doncaster Rovers 2014 4 0 4 0
Total 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Career total 517 24 68 4 19 1 604 29

International[edit]

Australia national team
Year Apps Goals
1996 1 0
1997 0 0
1998 1 0
1999-2002 0 0
2003 3 0
2004 5 0
2005 12 0
2006 9 0
2007 8 0
2008 7 0
2009 7 0
2010 10 0
2011 16 0
2012 9 0
2013 7 1
Total 95 1

International goals[edit]

Score and Result lists Australia's goals first
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1. 11 June 2013 Docklands Stadium, Melbourne, Australia  Jordan 4–0 4–0 2014 FIFA World Cup qualification

Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Millwall F.C.

Blackburn Rovers

Al Jazira

International[edit]

Australia

Individual[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ http://www.whufc.com/articles/lucas-neill-watford_2228487_9121
  2. ^ "List of Australian Olympic athletes". Australian Institute of Sport. 
  3. ^ a b "Neill on the move", BBC Sport, 3 September 2001. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
  4. ^ Soccerbase: Lucas Neill, Racing Post. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
  5. ^ "Blackburn seal Neill deal", BBC Sport, 7 September 2001. Retrieved 28 June 2007.
  6. ^ Cockerill, Michael (22 June 2006). "Neill good enough for Barca: Neeskens". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  7. ^ "Neill set for Blackburn departure". BBC Sport. 8 April 2006. 
  8. ^ "Reds ready to bide time for Neill". BBC Sport. 9 January 2006. 
  9. ^ "Sunday's football gossip". BBC Sport. 26 November 2006. 
  10. ^ Hughes recalls 'crazy' Hammers visit
  11. ^ "West Ham confirm capture of Neill". BBC Sport. 22 January 2007. Retrieved 5 August 2009. 
  12. ^ Dunn, Alex (23 January 2007). "Neill rejects cash claims". Sky Sports. Retrieved 23 January 2007. 
  13. ^ "Tactical Formation". Football-Lineups.com. Retrieved 28 February 2007. 
  14. ^ "Lucas Neill named as new Team Captain". West ham United. 27 July 2007. Retrieved 27 July 2007. 
  15. ^ "West Ham United v Wigan Athletic". West Ham United. 25 August 2007. Retrieved 27 August 2007. 
  16. ^ West Brom 3–2 West Ham
  17. ^ "Neill turns down new Hammers deal". BBC Sport. 3 June 2009. Retrieved 3 June 2009. 
  18. ^ Mersey flight for Aussie skipper as Neill and Cahill unite www.heraldsun.com.au
  19. ^ "Neill signs for Everton: report". Everton FC. 17 September 2009. 
  20. ^ Hull 0 – 4 Everton www.bbc.co.uk
  21. ^ Lucas Neill Galatasaray'da
  22. ^ Lucas Neill Galatasaray
  23. ^ Lucas Neill Sözleşme İmzaladı
  24. ^ "Galatasaray 1 – 0 Gaziantepspor". ESPN. 24 January 2010. Retrieved 16 February 2010. 
  25. ^ Al Jazira to unveil Lucas Neill
  26. ^ Neill seals UAE switch: report
  27. ^ Al Jazira release Lucas Neill | Al Bawaba
  28. ^ Neills signs for Al Wasl The World Game on SBS
  29. ^ Neill's Al Wasl future in doubt as UAE club make new signings Goal.com
  30. ^ Socceroos captain Lucas Neill joins Sydney FC Herald Sun
  31. ^ Melbourne Heart v Sydney FC live football scores | Soccer scores and live video | ESPNFC.com
  32. ^ http://www.fifa.com/worldfootball/clubfootball/news/newsid=2153807.html
  33. ^ Little A-League interest for clubless Neill : The World Game on SBS
  34. ^ "Official: Lucas Neill signs". www.watfordfc.com. Retrieved 25 February 2014. 
  35. ^ BBC Sport - Watford 3-0 Barnsley
  36. ^ "Neill Joins Rovers". DRFC Official site. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  37. ^ "Neill loan extended". Doncaster Rovers FC. 23 April 2014. 
  38. ^ "Bring On The Young Blood". www.ausfootballreview.com. 
  39. ^ "Socceroo 1996 Matches". www.ozfootball.net. 
  40. ^ "Jubilant Socceroos achieve their destiny". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 17 November 2005. 
  41. ^ Gardiner, Andy (27 June 2006). "Late Totti penalty kick sends Italy past Australia". USA Today. Retrieved 11 May 2010. 
  42. ^ Cockerill, Michael (15 November 2006). "Arnold's roll of honour". The Sydney Morning Herald. 
  43. ^ "Iraq down sorry Socceroos". Special Broadcasting Service. 13 July 2007. 
  44. ^ Murray, Scott (2013-06-11). "Australia 4-0 Jordan: as it happened". www.guardian.co.uk. Retrieved 2013-06-13. 
  45. ^ "Lucas Neill should be stood down as Socceroos captain". http://www.smh.com.au/. 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  46. ^ Lewis, Dave (2013-10-15). "Fired-up Neill wants kids to show hunger". www.theworldgame.sbs.com.au/. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  47. ^ "Legends divided on Neill outburst". www.theworldgame.sbs.com.au/. 2013-10-15. Retrieved 2013-10-15. 
  48. ^ "Lucas Neill will not make Socceroos squad for World Cup". The Guardian. 6 May 2014. Retrieved 6 May 2014. 
  49. ^ "LUCAS EDWARD NEILL". Turkish Football Federation. 23 October 2010. Retrieved 23 October 2010. 
  50. ^ "Neill, Lucas". National Football Teams. Retrieved 8 April 2014. 
  51. ^ Includes FA Cup, League Cup, FA Community Shield, League Trophy and Turkish Cup

External links[edit]

Sporting positions
Preceded by
Mark Viduka
Australia captain
2006–2013
Succeeded by
Mile Jedinak
Preceded by
Nigel Reo-Coker
West Ham United captain
2007–2009
Succeeded by
Matthew Upson