Stephen Ward (footballer)
Ward playing for Ireland in the 2011 Nations Cup
|Full name||Stephen Robert Ward|
|Date of birth||20 August 1985|
|Place of birth||Dublin, Republic of Ireland|
|Height||1.85 m (6 ft 1 in)|
|Playing position||Left back / Winger / Forward|
|Current club||Brighton & Hove Albion
(on loan from Wolverhampton Wanderers)
|2013–||→ Brighton & Hove Albion (loan)||17||(0)|
|2003||Republic of Ireland U20||?||(?)|
|2004–2007||Republic of Ireland U21||14||(4)|
|2007||Republic of Ireland B||1||(0)|
|2011–||Republic of Ireland||18||(2)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 10:35, 7 December 2013 (UTC).
† Appearances (Goals).
Stephen Robert Ward (born 20 August 1985) is a Republic of Ireland international footballer currently playing for Football League Championship club Brighton & Hove Albion, where he is on loan from parent-club Wolverhampton Wanderers. He is able to play in a variety of positions, primarily left back, but also in left midfield and as a striker.
Ward began his senior career with Bohemians in his native Ireland, before moving to English Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers in 2007. Featuring regularly, he was part of their promotion to the Premier League two years later and has played over 230 times for the club. Following consecutive relegations though he was transfer listed in 2013, eventually departing on loan.
League of Ireland
Born in Dublin, Ireland, Ward grew up in Portmarnock and played schoolboy football for Home Farm and Portmarnock. Ward joined Dublin-based League of Ireland side Bohemians from Portmarnock in the summer of 2003. He scored twice on his debut as a substitute against Skerries Town in the FAI Cup on 15 August 2003. His form in Ireland attracted interest from various English sides. The 2006 season with Bohemians ended up being his last and he made a total of 93 appearances for the club, scoring 26 times.
After a successful trial, Ward joined English Championship side Wolverhampton Wanderers in January 2007 on a two-and-a-half-year deal. The fee, although undisclosed, was reported to be £100,000 – then a record for the League of Ireland.
Ward had a bright start to English football scoring three times in his first six games, earning him the Championship Player of the Month Award for February 2007; his first goal came against Plymouth Argyle on 3 February. He featured in all of Wolves remaining fixtures as they reached the promotion play-offs where they lost to local rivals West Bromwich Albion.
The next season was less successful for Ward as he was mostly used in an unfamiliar left midfield role, covering for the injured Matt Jarvis, but announced he was happy to play anywhere. Later on in the season, Ward himself also suffered injury woes as he was struck down with patellar tendinitis that ruled him out for four months, as the team narrowly missed a second successive play-off spot.
The 2008–09 season again saw Ward adopt a new position as he was converted to a makeshift left back, after George Elokobi sustained knee damage in only the third game of the campaign. Despite the emergency purchase of natural full back Matt Hill, Ward was often preferred in the spot anyway, helping the side win promotion to the Premier League.
Ward began the club's return to the top flight at left back role, but he soon suffered a cartilage injury that kept him out of action for two months. Returning in December, he made a total of 22 league appearances as the club managed to avoid an immediate return to the second tier.
During the 2010–11 season, Ward filled a variety of roles, playing left back, left midfield and as a striker. One game up front saw him net his first Premier League goal, when he scored the only goal of the game against Liverpool at Anfield on 29 December 2010. He was part of the team that avoided relegation on the final day of the season.
Brighton loan spell
After Wolves suffered a second consecutive relegation to enter League One in 2013, Ward was one of a group of players made available for transfer by the clubs's new head coach Kenny Jackett. On 16 August 2013 Ward was loaned to Brighton & Hove Albion for the 2013–14 season; his contract with the Molineux club runs until Summer 2015.
Ward received his first full call-up to the Republic of Ireland national team squad on 4 May 2011, for friendlies against Northern Ireland and Scotland as well as a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifier against Macedonia. He made his national team debut on 24 May 2011 in a Nations Cup game against Northern Ireland, where he opened the scoring in a 5–0 victory. Ward made his competitive debut for the Republic of Ireland against Slovakia in a UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying match, during which he kept a clean sheet in a 0–0 draw. Ward scored his second international goal in the second leg of the play-off for UEFA Euro 2012 against Estonia, sealing Ireland's place in their first major tournament since 2002 with an unprecedented 5–1 aggregate win.
Ward was picked in Trapattoni's 23-man squad for the UEFA Euro 2012 finals in Poland and Ukraine, going on to play in all three of their matches in the tournament before their group stage elimination.
- International goals
|1.||24 May 2011||Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Republic of Ireland||Northern Ireland||1–0||5–0||2011 Nations Cup|
|2.||15 November 2011||Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland||Estonia||1–0||1–1||UEFA Euro 2012 qualifying play-off|
- Wolverhampton Wanderers
- Football League Championship Player of The Month Award (1): February 2007
- "Premier League Player Profile – Stephen Ward". Premier League. Retrieved 7 January 2012.
- "Four players transfer listed". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. 24 June 2013.
- "Ward ready to sign". wolves.co.uk. 15 January 2007.
- "Wolves star earns February honour". BBC Sport. 4 March 2007.
- "Ward happy with his Molineux role". BBC Sport. 10 July 2008.
- "Ward glad at lucky escape". Birmingham Mail. 8 March 2008.
- "Mick McCarthy praises Wolves' match-winner Stephen Ward". BBC Sport. 30 December 2010.
- "Stephen Ward joins Brighton as Gordon Greer signs new deal". BBC Sport. 16 August 2013.
- "A new deal for Wardy". Wolverhampton Wanderers F.C. 11 November 2011.
- "Rep of Ireland 5–0 N Ireland". BBC Sport. 24 May 2011.
- Mason, Glenn (15 November 2011). "Ireland 1–1 Estonia". RTÉ Sport.
- "EURO 2012 squad named". fai.ie. 7 May 2012.