Steven N'Zonzi

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Steven N'Zonzi
Steven N'Zonzi (cropped).jpg
N'Zonzi playing for Stoke City in 2013
Personal information
Full name Steven N'Kemboanza Mike
Christopher N'Zonzi[1]
Date of birth (1988-12-15) 15 December 1988 (age 25)
Place of birth Colombes, Paris, France
Height 1.93 m (6 ft 4 in)
Playing position Defensive Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Stoke City
Number 15
Youth career
1998–1999 Racing Paris
1999–2002 Paris Saint-Germain
2002–2003 CA Lisieux
2003–2004 Caen
2004–2005 Beauvais
2005–2007 Amiens SC
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2007–2009 Amiens SC 37 (1)
2009–2012 Blackburn Rovers 86 (5)
2012– Stoke City 75 (3)
National team
2009–2010 France U21 6 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 18:52, 13 September 2014 (UTC).

† Appearances (Goals).

‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 29 April 2012

Steven N'Kemboanza Mike Christopher N'Zonzi (born 15 December 1988) is a French footballer of Congolese descent who plays as a midfielder for Premier League club Stoke City.

N'Zonzi began his career with Ligue 2 side Amiens SC impressing enough to earn a move to English Premier League side Blackburn Rovers in 2009 for £500,000. He spent three years at Ewood Park which ended with Rovers being relegated at the end of the 2011–12 season. He remained in the Premier League however joining Stoke City for £3 million.

He has represented France at under-21 level and has been called up into the Democratic Republic of the Congo national football team but has yet to play a full international game.

Club career[edit]

Early career[edit]

N'Zonzi was born in Colombes, France and began his career playing for hometown club Racing Paris. In 1999, he joined the youth system of Paris Saint-Germain playing at the Camp des Loges, the club's youth academy. While at Paris Saint-Germain, N'Zonzi, due to his height, was initially installed in the club's academy as a striker and then as an attacking midfielder. After a three-year stint at the Ligue 1 club, he moved to the Basse-Normandie region joining CA Lisieux. He later had one-year stints at both SM Caen and AS Beauvais Oise before finally settling in with Amiens SC in 2005.

Amiens[edit]

After featuring in the Championnat de France amateur 2 for his first two years at the club, N'Zonzi made his professional debut on 24 November 2007 in a Coupe de France match against amateur club AS Raismes appearing as a substitute in the 74th minute, Amiens won the match 7–0. He earned his first start on 15 April 2008 playing the entire 90 minutes in a 1–0 loss to Bastia. Following the season, he signed his first professional contract and was officially promoted to the senior team.

N'Zonzi was given the starting defensive midfielder role for the 2008–09 season and appeared in 36 total matches. He also scored his first professional goal in a 2–1 defeat to Strasbourg on 8 May 2009. The defeat to Strasbourg led to Amiens going winless in their final four matches, which led to the club suffering relegation to the Championnat National, France's third division of football. Despite the relegation, N'Zonzi was applauded for his play and he was linked with a move to the English Premier League, with Blackburn Rovers and Portsmouth showing a serious interest in the young Frenchman, who many hailed as the next Patrick Vieira.[2]

Blackburn Rovers[edit]

On 28 June 2009, it was reported that Blackburn Rovers had agreed a deal with Amiens to sign N'Zonzi.[3] He was expected to complete a move to Blackburn Rovers on the week beginning 29 June 2009. As anticipated, the move was completed on 30 June, signing for a fee believed to be in the region of £500,000, on a four-year contract.[4][5]

N'Zonzi playing for Blackburn Rovers in 2011.

On 15 August 2009, N'Zonzi made his debut for Blackburn where he made his first start in a 2–0 loss against Manchester City and since making his debut, found himself very much part of Sam Allardyce's plans. He scored his first goal for Rovers on 4 October 2009 against Arsenal in the 6–2 defeat.[6] After scoring his first goal, N'Zonzi admitted he had been surprised at how quickly he had established himself in the side but was determined to keep his place in the starting XI.[7] His second goal for the club was a 30-yard strike against Everton on 17 April 2010 in a 3–2 defeat at Ewood Park. On 3 May 2010, during the pre-match build up to the Arsenal game, he was announced as the Blackburn Rovers Player of the Year for the 2009–10 season, chosen by the fans.

In August 2010, N'Zonzi signed a new five-year deal with Blackburn, lasting until summer 2015. Rovers chairman John Williams said: "We are delighted to secure Steven for the long term. He was outstanding last year and the new deal is richly deserved." On 21 August 2011, Nzonzi scored his third goal for Blackburn with a header against Birmingham City in a 2–1 defeat at St Andrew's. Soon after N'Zonzi found himself dropping down the pecking order as a result of both Phil Jones and Vince Grella's form in midfield. This led Allardyce urged him to raise his game and recapture his form of last season.[8] Later on in his second season, Allardyce was sacked and replaced by Steve Kean. On 2 April 2011, N'Zonzi received his first red card of his career in a 0–0 draw against Arsenal two-footed challenge on Laurent Koscielny.[9] N'Zonzi was banned for 4 matches and on 30 April 2011, N'Zonzi made his return in a 1–0 win over Bolton Wanderers.

On 26 November 2011 against Stoke City, N'Zonzi was hit with a violent conduct charge for intentionally elbowing Ryan Shawcross in the face.[10] N'Zonzi served a three-match ban after admitting an FA charge of violent conduct.[11] Reports speculates that N'Zonzi could head a number of high-profile departures which Kean need to sell in order to finance some of their planned arrivals .[12] However, N'Zonzi never moved during the winter transfer window. On 11 February 2012, N'Zonzi scored his first goal of the season and set up a goal for the club top scorer Yakubu Aiyegbeni in a 3–2 win over Queens Park Rangers.[13] On 24 March 2012, N'Zonzi scored his second goal of the season in a 2–1 loss against Bolton Wanderers.[14] At the end of the season, Blackburn were relegated for the first time in 11 seasons and N'Zonzi told manager Steve Kean he wants to leave.[15]

Stoke City[edit]

On 31 August 2012, N'Zonzi joined Stoke City for a fee of £3million.[16][17] He made his debut for Stoke in a 1–1 draw at home to Manchester City on 15 September 2012 and his performance earned him the man of the match award.[18] Impressed with N'Zonzi's start to his Stoke career manager Tony Pulis believes that he will one day play in the Champions League.[19] N'Zonzi was sent off for a "studs-up" challenge on Jack Cork in a 3–3 draw with Southampton on 29 December 2012.[20] However no contact was made with Cork and Pulis decided to appeal Mark Clattenburg's decision.[21][22] His red card was later rescinded by the FA.[23] After reacting angrily to suffering a broken nose against Fulham, N'Zonzi was told to keep his temperament in check by assistant manager David Kemp.[24] He scored his first goal for Stoke in a 2–1 defeat against Tottenham Hotspur on 12 May 2013.[25] He ended the 2012–13 season having made 38 appearances for the club but once the campaign had come to an end he revealed that he was unhappy at the club and handed in a transfer request.[26] His request was rejected by the club.[27]

Under new manager Mark Hughes, N'Zonzi remained at Stoke going into the 2013–14 and he produced a man of the match performance against West Ham United on 31 August 2013.[28] However after this his performances dropped off and assistant manager Mark Bowen advised N'Zonzi to stop his 'theatrical sulks'.[29][30] On 23 November 2013 he scored and provided an assist in a 2–0 win over Sunderland.[31] He was sent-off in the return fixture against Sunderland on 29 January 2014.[32] After serving his suspension N'Zonzi spent time on the bench much to his frustration.[33] He returned to the starting line-up and scored in a 4–1 win over Aston Villa on 23 March 2014.[34] He played 40 times for Stoke in 2013–14 as the team finished in 9th position and N'Zonzi stated that he is happy playing for Stoke under Mark Hughes.[35] However he handed in a transfer request for a second season running.[36]

International career[edit]

N'Zonzi earned his first call up to the France U-21 team by coach Erick Mombaerts on 1 October 2009 for their European Under-21 Championship qualification matches against Malta and Belgium. N'Zonzi made his debut in the Malta match appearing as a 58th minute substitute in a 2–0 victory on Friday 9 October 2009.[37] He earned his first under-21 international start in the match against Belgium, which ended 0–0.

In January 2011 he was called up to the national football team of the Democratic Republic of the Congo because his father was from the African country, but he did not want to commit to the international team due to structural problems at the administrative level. He did not rule out playing for the Congolese national team in the future.[38] He again turned DR Congo down in November 2012.[39][40]

Style of play[edit]

N'Zonzi plays in centre midfield and is noted for being calm and composed whilst in possession and having a good passing ability.[41] He has earned comparisons to compatriot Patrick Vieira both in style and physical ability.[42]

Personal life[edit]

In September 2013 N'Zonzi was interviewed by police after he was involved in a collision with a cyclist in Hale, Greater Manchester.[43][44]

Career statistics[edit]

As of match played 13 September 2014[45]
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Amiens 2007–08 Ligue 2 3 0 2 0 0 0 5 0
2008–09 Ligue 2 34 1 1 0 1 0 36 1
Total 37 1 3 0 1 0 41 1
Blackburn Rovers 2009–10[46] Premier League 33 2 0 0 5 0 38 2
2010–11[47] Premier League 21 1 1 0 2 0 24 1
2011–12[48] Premier League 32 2 1 0 1 0 34 2
Total 86 5 2 0 8 0 96 5
Stoke City 2012–13[49] Premier League 35 1 3 0 0 0 38 1
2013–14[50] Premier League 36 2 2 0 2 0 40 2
2014–15[51] Premier League 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Total 75 3 5 0 2 0 82 3
Career total 198 9 10 0 11 0 219 9

Honours[edit]

Individual[edit]

  • Blackburn Rovers Player of the Year: 2010
  • Stoke City Young Player of the Year: 2013

References[edit]

  1. ^ "List of Players under Written Contract Registered Between 01/08/2010 and 31/08/2010" (PDF). The Football Association. Retrieved 14 October 2010. 
  2. ^ "Rovers Pursue Young 'Vieira'". Blackburncitizen.co.uk. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  3. ^ "Transfer Clockwatch". Skysports.com. 31 August 2011. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  4. ^ "Nzonzi Signs". Rovers.co.uk. Retrieved 8 November 2011. 
  5. ^ "Blackburn sign midfielder N'Zonzi". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  6. ^ "Arsenal 6–2 Blackburn". BBC Sport. 4 October 2009. Retrieved 4 October 2009. 
  7. ^ "N'zonzi surprised by impact". Sky Sports. 7 October 2009. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  8. ^ "Sam - N'Zonzi must improve". Sky Sports. 21 September 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  9. ^ "Arsenal 0 - 0 Blackburn". BBC Sport. 2 April 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  10. ^ "Blackburn Rovers midfielder Steven Nzonzi banned for three matches". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  11. ^ "Nzonzi admits FA charge". Sky Sports. 29 November 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  12. ^ "N'Zonzi could lead exits". Sky Sports. 30 December 2011. Retrieved 6 June 2012. 
  13. ^ "Blackburn 3-2 QPR". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  14. ^ "Bolton 2-1 Blackburn". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  15. ^ "Steven Nzonzi asks to leave Blackburn Rovers". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2 September 2012. 
  16. ^ "Nzonzi completes Stoke City move as Goodwillie leaves on loan". Lancashire Telegraph. Retrieved 31 August 2012. 
  17. ^ "Stoke tie up deals for Charlie Adam and Steven Nzonzi". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  18. ^ "Stoke 1-1 Man City". Sky Sports. Retrieved 15 September 2012. 
  19. ^ "Steven Nzonzi set for Champions' League, says Tony Pulis". The Sentinel. Retrieved 19 November 2012. 
  20. ^ Shemilt, Stephan (29 December 2012). "Stoke 3 - 3 Southampton". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  21. ^ Shemilt, Stephan (29 December 2012). "Tony Pulis frustrated by dismissal of Stoke's Steven Nzonzi". BBC Sport. Retrieved 30 December 2012. 
  22. ^ "Steven Nzonzi to have red card reviewed". The Sentinel. Retrieved 31 December 2012. 
  23. ^ "FA uphold Stoke appeal against Steven Nzonzi red card against Southampton". Sky Sports. Retrieved 2 January 2013. 
  24. ^ "Dave Kemp urges Steven Nzonzi to keep temperament in check". The Sentinel. Retrieved 26 February 2013. 
  25. ^ "Stoke 1-2 Tottenham". BBC Sport. Retrieved 12 May 2013. 
  26. ^ "Steven Nzonzi asks to leave Stoke City". The Sentinel. Retrieved 24 May 2013. 
  27. ^ "Club Reject Nzonzi Request". Stoke City F.C. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  28. ^ "Player Analysis: Steven N’Zonzi – A Symbol Of A New Style At Stoke?". squawka.com. Retrieved 12 September 2013. 
  29. ^ "Extra time: Should Stoke City drop Steven Nzonzi?". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  30. ^ "Nzonzi advised to stop his theatrical sulks". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 22 November 2013. 
  31. ^ "Steven Nzonzi takes influential performance in his stride". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 25 November 2013. 
  32. ^ "Sunderland 1-0 Stoke". BBC Sport. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  33. ^ "Steven Nzonzi not hiding frustration of spell on sidelines". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 3 March 2014. 
  34. ^ "Aston Villa 1-4 Stoke". BBC Sport. Retrieved 26 March 2014. 
  35. ^ "'Potters can match my ambitions,' says Steven Nzonzi". Stoke Sentinel. Retrieved 13 May 2014. 
  36. ^ "Steven Nzonzi submits transfer request to Stoke City - his second in 12 months". The Telegraph. Retrieved 17 May 2014. 
  37. ^ "Malta U21 0-2 France U21". Soccerway. Retrieved 17 September 2012. 
  38. ^ "RDC - Sélection : N’Zonzi, « Je ne ferme pas la porte »". Congo Sport. 2011. Retrieved 30 August 2012. 
  39. ^ "Nzonzi turns down DR Congo invitation". Super Sport. Retrieved 11 November 2012. 
  40. ^ "Stoke midfielder Nzonzi turns down DR Congo invitation". BBC Sport. Retrieved 28 November 2012. 
  41. ^ "N'Zonzi is key". Sky Sports. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  42. ^ "Vieira talk flatters N'Zonzi". Sky Sports. Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  43. ^ "Stoke City footballer Steven N'Zonzi quizzed by police over Hale ‘bike crash’". Manchester Evening News. Retrieved 28 September 2013. 
  44. ^ John Stevenson, 26 September 2013. "Good luck finding me on foreign plates" case passed to CPS. Driver of matt black Audi identified as Steven N'Zonzi by own team manager.". Retrieved 27 September 2013. 
  45. ^ "Steven N'Zonzi". Soccerbase. Retrieved 16 June 2013. 
  46. ^ "Games played by Steven Nzonzi in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  47. ^ "Games played by Steven Nzonzi in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  48. ^ "Games played by Steven Nzonzi in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  49. ^ "Games played by Steven Nzonzi in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  50. ^ "Games played by Steven Nzonzi in 2013/2014". Soccerbase. Retrieved 27 October 2013. 
  51. ^ "Games played by Steven Nzonzi in 2014/2015". Soccerbase. Retrieved 16 August 2014. 

External links[edit]