Kirkland warming-up with Wigan Athletic in 2010
|Full name||Christopher Edmund Kirkland|
|Date of birth||2 May 1981|
|Place of birth||Barwell, England|
|Height||6 ft 5 in (1.96 m)[A]|
|2005–2006||→ West Bromwich Albion (loan)||10||(0)|
|2006||→ Wigan Athletic (loan)||9||(0)|
|2010||→ Leicester City (loan)||3||(0)|
|2011||→ Doncaster Rovers (loan)||1||(0)|
|2012– 2015||Sheffield Wednesday||98||(0)|
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 14:53, 4 May 2015 (UTC).
Christopher Edmund "Chris" Kirkland (born 2 May 1981) is an English footballer who plays as a goalkeeper and is currently a free agent, after leaving Sheffield Wednesday. Kirkland started his career at Coventry City, where he was regarded as one of the country's most promising young goalkeepers. He was later signed by Premier League side Liverpool in 2001, where he went on to win one League Cup, one FA Community Shield, one UEFA Super Cup and the UEFA Champions League. However, his time at the club was blighted by recurring injuries, which almost caused him to retire from football altogether. He would later sign for Wigan Athletic in 2006, after a successful loan period, and he had further loan spells at both Leicester City and Doncaster Rovers before being signed by Sheffield Wednesday in 2012. Internationally, Kirkland has one cap for the England national team.
Early life and career
Kirkland was born in Barwell, Leicestershire, where he grew up with his parents, Marie and Eddie, and attended Heathfield School. As a teenager, Kirkland trained with Coventry City and Leicester City. After an unsuccessful trial with Blackburn Rovers, he accepted a contract offer from Coventry. He signed professional terms with the club in July 1998.
Kirkland made his debut for Coventry in the League Cup against Tranmere Rovers on 22 September 1999. He shot to prominence as one of the most promising young English keepers in the country in the 2000–01 season when he replaced Swedish international Magnus Hedman as first choice goalkeeper at the club. His performances were rewarded at the end of the season when he made his debut for the England under-21's, and was voted Coventry's Young Player of the Year by the club's supporters. He was linked with moves to Arsenal and Liverpool, despite his relatively limited experience  and was eventually bought by Liverpool for £6m in August 2001. At the time he was the most expensive goalkeeper in British transfer history, at only 20 years old.
Kirkland made his debut for Liverpool in October 2001, but mostly served as understudy to first-choice goalkeeper Jerzy Dudek in his first season at the club. During the following season, costly errors by Dudek in a league fixture against Manchester United handed the jersey to Kirkland. He played 14 consecutive matches, during which he kept six clean sheets, but sustained an ankle injury in January 2003, which ruled him out for the rest of the season. A succession of recurring injury problems in the seasons that followed prevented him from ever returning to the side as the regular first choice goalkeeper.
At the beginning of the 2004–05 season, Kirkland found himself with the chance to make an impact on the fortunes of Liverpool and England, having ousted his friend Dudek as first-choice Liverpool keeper. His good form and lack of injury was seen as welcome news for Liverpool and England fans.
2005, however, did not start well for Kirkland, with his Liverpool career once again interrupted by injury. Having begun his Anfield career as the future England Number 1, a series of ineffective performances for the Reds, coupled with a string of injuries, meant that Kirkland had slipped down the goalkeeping pecking order behind Dudek and new signing Scott Carson. He featured in four of Liverpool's six group games in the Champions League as Liverpool went on to win the trophy, but was injured throughout the latter stages of the tournament.
West Bromwich Albion
In the summer of 2005 Kirkland agreed to go on a season-long loan to West Bromwich Albion in order to kick-start his career again; he had been moved to fourth in the pecking order, behind new signing Pepe Reina, Dudek, and Carson. He kept a clean sheet on his Albion debut as the team drew 0–0 away at Manchester City. His move to The Hawthorns bore immediate fruit for Kirkland as he was called up to replace Manchester City player David James as second-choice keeper for the England squad. An injury to Kirkland in the first half of the season saw Polish goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak replace him and remain West Brom's first choice goalkeeper for the rest of the season.
In July 2006, Kirkland joined Wigan Athletic on a six-month loan spell. This move became permanent on 27 October 2006 when the two clubs and Kirkland made a compromise. He signed with Wigan Athletic for three years, until the end of the 2008–09 season. He was given the number 1 jersey for the 2007–08 season and became the first-choice goalkeeper of new manager Steve Bruce. Kirkland won the club's Players' Player of the Year and Media Player of the Year awards for 2007–08. He committed his future to Wigan in May 2008 when he signed a new contract, tying him to the club until 2012.
Kirkland opened the 2009–10 campaign by keeping a clean sheet for Wigan Athletic away to Aston Villa. Unfortunately, shortly after he conceded five in the second half, at home to Manchester United. On 18 October 2009, Kirkland dislocated his finger during a match against Manchester City; play stopped temporarily as his finger was popped back in. He completed the match. On 22 November, Kirkland conceded nine goals in a Premier League game against Tottenham Hotspur. At the start of the 2010–11 season, Wigan were heavily defeated in their first two games against Blackpool and Chelsea, and was replaced in the starting lineup by Ali Al-Habsi.
On 25 November, Kirkland joined his hometown Leicester City on loan until January. A back spasm suffered during training in early December nearly ended his stint at the club, but he resumed his loan after making a speedy recovery. He made his debut in a 3–0 defeat to Ipswich Town on 19 December 2010. Kirkland returned to Wigan for treatment on his back injury, after making three appearances for Leicester. He was stretchered off after a collision with Johan Elmander in a 1–1 draw against Bolton Wanderers on 5 January 2011; Kirkland was in the Wigan squad due to Ali Al-Habsi's ineligibility to play against his parent club.
Kirkland was going to join Cardiff City on emergency loan, in February 2011, as cover for the Bluebirds keeper Tom Heaton but the deal fell through.
On 12 October 2011, Kirkland joined Championship Doncaster Rovers on loan until January after attracting interest from new manager Dean Saunders. Less than a week into his loan spell, however, Kirkland was sent back to parent club Wigan following another back spasm.
On 23 May 2012, it was announced that Kirkland was to join Championship side Sheffield Wednesday. Manager Dave Jones said that he intended to make Kirkland his first-choice goalkeeper. Kirkland made his Owls debut in a 4–2 League Cup win over Oldham Athletic on 13 August 2012.
On 19 October 2012 he was assaulted by a fan who had run onto the pitch during the 1-1 draw against Leeds United. Kirkland required several minutes of treatment after the assault which was captured on television cameras and immediately followed a Leeds goal.
He won eight caps with the England under-21 team and was regularly selected for the senior squad from 2003 onwards, but did not make an appearance until he came on as a substitute for the second half of a friendly against Greece in August 2006. When Kirkland was eleven years old, his father and some family friends had placed bets of £100 each at 100/1 odds that he would play for England before the age of thirty. Kirkland's appearance netted the group £10,000 each.
Life outside football
In April 2008 Kirkland teamed up with fellow professionals Kevin Davies and Brett Emerton to help launch the Get Started programme, a national scheme which aims to tackle re-offending. He visited Hindley Youth Offenders' Institution in support of the scheme, which is delivered by the Prince's Trust in partnership with the Premier League, the PFA and the Football Foundation.
- As of 5 April 2014
|Club performance||League||Cup||League Cup||Continental||Total|
|England||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Total|
|1998–99||Coventry City||Premier League||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0|
|2005–06||West Brom (loan)||10||0||2||0||0||0||0||0||12||0|
|2006–07||Wigan Athletic (loan)||9||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||9||0|
|Leicester City (loan)||Championship||3||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||3||0|
|2011–12||Doncaster Rovers (loan)||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
- Coventry City
- FA Youth Cup (1): 1998–99
- League Cup (1): 2002–03
- FA Community Shield (1): 2006
- UEFA Champions League (1): 2004–05
- UEFA Super Cup (1): 2005
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2009). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2009–10. Mainstream Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84596-474-0.
- "Chris Kirkland profile". West Bromwich Albion F.C. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
"Chris Kirkland profile". Wigan Athletic F.C. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- "Chris Kirkland: 'My passion to be a firefighter has always been with me'". The Independent (London). 2008-01-19. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
- "Chris Kirkland so proud to sign for hometown club Leicester City". Leicester Mercury. 26 November 2010. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "England Players – Chris Kirkland". England Football Online. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "Injury-hit England thrive". BBC Sport. 24 May 2001. Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "Player Profile – Chris Kirkland". LFChistory.net. Retrieved 9 December 2010.
- Webster, Rupert. "KIRKLAND: A COSTLY ENTERPRISE". Sky Sports.
- "Chris Kirkland – Liverpool FC". Retrieved 8 December 2010.
- "Kirkland completes West Brom move". BBC Sport. 2005-07-16. Retrieved 2008-03-15.
- "Manchester City vs WBA". West Bromwich Albion F.C. 2005-08-13. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- "Wigan clinch Kirkland loan deal". BBC Sport. 2006-07-11. Retrieved 2007-08-12.
- "Permanent Wigan deal for Kirkland". BBC Sport. 2006-10-27. Retrieved 2007-02-14.
- "NO. 1 SIGNING OF THE SUMMER". Wigan Athletic F.C. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- "Kirkland signs new Wigan contract". BBC Sport. 2008-05-21. Retrieved 2008-05-22.
- Fletcher, Paul (2009-11-22). "Defoe nets five as super Spurs hit nine". BBC Sport. Retrieved 2010-04-29.
- "Kirkland joins City on loan". LCFC.co.uk. Leicester City F.C. 2010-11-25. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
- "Chris Kirkland hopes to resume Leicester City loan". BBC Sport. 2010-12-07. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- "Chris Kirkland back training with Leicester City". BBC Sport. 2010-12-14. Retrieved 2010-12-30.
- "Ipswich 3–0 Leicester". BBC Sport. 2010-12-19. Retrieved 2010-12-24.
- "Kirkland back in injury misery". Sky Sports. 30 Dec 2010. Retrieved 6 Jan 2011.
- "Bolton 1–1 Wigan". BBC Sport. 5 Jan 2011. Retrieved 6 Jan 2011.
- "Wigan Athletic loan Chris Kirkland to Doncaster Rovers". BBC Sport. 12 October 2011. Retrieved 13 October 2011.
- "Doncaster Rovers end Chris Kirkland loan deal". BBC Sport. 20 October 2011. Retrieved 20 October 2011.
- Sheffield Wednesday's Chris Kirkland attacked by Leeds fan in draw, The Guardian, 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- Chris Kirkland hit by Leeds fan at Sheffield Wednesday, BBC news website, 2012-10-19. Retrieved 2012-10-20.
- "Funny old game". BBC Sport. 2003-08-19. Retrieved 2006-08-16.
- "Eight out, Richardson in". TheFA.com. 2006-11-13. Retrieved 2007-02-26.[dead link]
- "Famous players tackling problems in prison". Wigan Evening Post. 2008-04-18. Retrieved 2008-04-20.
- "Chris Kirkland statistics". Soccerbase.com. Racing Post. Retrieved 2010-05-22.
- Rollin, Glenda & Jack (2008). Sky Sports Football Yearbook 2008–2009. Headline. p. 553. ISBN 978-0-7553-1820-9.
- Chris Kirkland career statistics at Soccerbase
- FootballDatabase provides Chris Kirkland's profile and stats
- TheFA.com profile
- Chris Kirkland profile on the official Wigan Athletic website