Chester lining up for Wales in 2016
|Full name||James Grant Chester|
|Date of birth||23 January 1989|
|Place of birth||Warrington, England|
|Height||1.80 m (5 ft 11 in)|
|Playing position||Centre back|
|2009||→ Peterborough United (loan)||5||(0)|
|2009||→ Plymouth Argyle (loan)||3||(0)|
|2010–2011||→ Carlisle United (loan)||18||(2)|
|2015–2016||West Bromwich Albion||13||(0)|
|* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 16:55, 14 March 2017 (UTC).
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 16:55, 14 March 2017 (UTC)
Chester began his career with Manchester United but made only one appearance for the club. He had spells on loan at Peterborough United, Plymouth Argyle and Carlisle United before joining Hull City in January 2011 on a permanent contract. He spent three-and-a-half years there before signing for West Bromwich Albion in 2015. After only one year with West Brom, Chester joined Championship club Aston Villa in the summer of 2016. He made his debut for the Welsh senior team in June 2014 and has gone on to play at UEFA Euro 2016, helping his country to make it to the semi-final of a major international tournament for the first time in its history.
Chester was born in Warrington, Cheshire. He began his career with his local club, Winwick Athletic, where, at the age of five, he was already playing in the club's under-9s team. At the age of eight, he joined Manchester United, and signed a trainee contract at the age of 16 in July 2005. He went straight into the club's under-18s team, making 17 appearances in the 2005–06 season. He also got his first taste of reserve-team football on 21 February 2006, when he was named as an unused substitute for a 4–1 away win over Everton. He continued in the under-18 side in 2006–07, and scored his first goal in a United shirt on 9 December 2006, scoring the opening goal in a 3–1 away defeat by Manchester City. He made his debut for the reserve team on 15 February 2007, helping to hold Bolton Wanderers to a 0–0 draw. At the end of the season, he played in the teams for both the FA Youth Cup and Manchester Senior Cup finals. However, the teams lost both finals, losing to Liverpool on penalties in the former and to Manchester City in the latter.
In July 2007, Chester signed his first professional contract with United. In 2007–08, he cemented his place as a regular in the reserve team, making 24 appearances in all competitions as the team won both the Manchester Senior Cup and the Lancashire Senior Cup, and finished in third place in the Premier Reserve League North. His consistent performances and on-field leadership earned him the reserve-team captaincy for 2008–09. After being named as a substitute for the first team's 1–0 win over Bolton Wanderers on 17 January 2009, Chester was again selected as a substitute for the League Cup semi-final second leg against Derby County. With United 3–0 up at the time, Chester came on as a 67th-minute substitute for Gary Neville. Although Derby pulled two goals back, United ended up winning the match 4–2, meaning that they won the tie 4–3 on aggregate and qualified for the 2009 League Cup Final.
On 2 February 2009, Chester joined League One club Peterborough United – managed by Alex Ferguson's son, Darren – on a one-month loan. He made five appearances for the Posh before returning to Manchester United on 2 March. Towards the end of the season, along with Tom Cleverley and Corry Evans, Chester was nominated by reserve team manager Ole Gunnar Solskjær for the Denzil Haroun Reserve Player of the Year award.
On 18 September 2009, Chester joined Championship club Plymouth Argyle on a three-month loan along with his Manchester United teammate David Gray. However, in his third appearance for the Pilgrims, Chester suffered cartilage damage that would rule him out of action for 10–12 weeks, beyond the scheduled end of his loan spell. He therefore returned to Manchester United on 13 October 2009.
On 3 August 2010, Chester joined League One club Carlisle United on loan until 3 January 2011, after impressing in a trial match against Hibernian on 1 August. He made his competitive debut on 7 August, starting at centre back in Carlisle's 2–0 home win over Brentford on the opening day of the league season. Over the course of his loan spell, Chester scored four goals for Carlisle in 23 appearances in all competitions, including the winning goal in Carlisle's 3–2 FA Cup second round win over Tamworth.
On 17 December 2010, Chester expressed an interest in staying at Carlisle beyond the end of his loan contract, but the transfer window brought with it talk of Chester making a transfer to Championship club Hull City, with Hull manager Nigel Pearson going public on 3 January with his interest in the defender. The next day, Hull had a bid believed to be worth around £300,000 accepted by Manchester United, and Chester underwent a medical on 6 January. The transfer was completed on 7 January, with Chester signing a three-and-a-half-year contract. He made his debut in the 2–0 home win against Barnsley on 15 January 2011. Chester scored his first goal for the club in the 2–2 draw against Leeds United at the KC Stadium on 1 February 2011. Chester adjusted well to the Championship, putting in several strong performances at the heart of defence and occasionally in central midfield.
Chester enjoyed a strong year in his second season at Hull, playing almost every game under managers Nigel Pearson and Nick Barmby in central defence, forming a successful partnership with Jack Hobbs. This partnership was for a long period the basis of the tightest defence in the league. Chester finished the season as runner-up in the club's player of the year awards.
Under new manager Steve Bruce, Chester quickly became accustomed to playing as part of a three-man defence in the team's new system, alongside a combination of Abdoulaye Faye, manager's son Alex Bruce, Paul McShane, and Jack Hobbs. Chester scored his first goal of the season in a 3–2 victory away to Birmingham City. On 26 June 2013, Chester signed a new three-year contract with Hull.
Chester made his Premier League debut on 18 August 2013 at Stamford Bridge in a 2–0 away defeat to Chelsea. Five games into his debut season as a first-team player in the Premier League, Chester was ruled out for an initial six-to-eight weeks after pulling his hamstring against Newcastle United on 21 September 2013. After two months out injured, he made his return in Hull's 2–0 defeat away to Arsenal on 4 December. Chester scored his first goal of the 2013–14 season in the fourth minute of Hull City's Boxing Day match against Manchester United; however, he later scored a second-half own goal to give Manchester United a 3–2 victory. On 17 May 2014, he started in the 2014 FA Cup Final against Arsenal and scored to put his side 1–0 up, although Hull went on to lose 3–2.
West Bromwich Albion
On 29 July 2015, Chester joined Premier League club West Bromwich Albion on a four-year contract for a reported fee of £8 million. Chester made his West Brom debut on 10 August appearing in a 3–0 defeat to Manchester City. On 25 August, Chester started for West Brom in a League Cup match against Port Vale, both sides failed to score and the game went to penalties, Chester scored the decisive penalty enabling West Brom to progress to the next round of the competition.
On 12 August 2016, Chester signed a four-year contract with newly relegated Championship club Aston Villa for an undisclosed fee, believed to have been more than the £8 million West Brom paid Hull.
On 7 May 2014, it was announced that Chester had committed himself to the Wales national team, which he qualifies for as his mother was born in Rhyl. Two weeks later on 22 May 2014, he was named in the national squad for a friendly match against the Netherlands on 4 June 2014. He made his international debut in the starting line-up for that match.
- As of match played 11 March 2017
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Europe||Other||Total|
|Manchester United||2008–09||Premier League||0||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||0||0||1||0|
|Peterborough United (loan)||2008–09||League One||5||0||—||—||—||—||5||0|
|Plymouth Argyle (loan)||2009–10||Championship||3||0||—||—||—||—||3||0|
|Carlisle United (loan)||2010–11||League One||18||2||2||1||1||0||—||3[a]||1||24||4|
|West Bromwich Albion||2015–16||Premier League||13||0||4||0||2||0||—||—||19||0|
- As of match played 12 November 2016
- Hugman, Barry J., ed. (2010). The PFA Footballers' Who's Who 2010–11. Edinburgh: Mainstream Publishing. p. 82. ISBN 978-1-84596-601-0.
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- "Defender pens four-year deal". West Bromwich Albion F.C. 29 July 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
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- "Wales: Chester called up for Wales". BBC Sport. 22 May 2014. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- Pope, Bruce (4 June 2014). "Netherlands 2–0 Wales". BBC Sport. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "Games played by James Chester in 2008/2009". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "Games played by James Chester in 2009/2010". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "Games played by James Chester in 2010/2011". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "Games played by James Chester in 2011/2012". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "Games played by James Chester in 2012/2013". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
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- "Games played by James Chester in 2015/2016". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
- "Games played by James Chester in 2016/2017". Soccerbase. Centurycomm. Retrieved 14 March 2017.
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