Mikele Leigertwood

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Mikele Leigertwood
Mikele Leigertwood.jpg
Leigertwood playing for Reading in 2011
Personal information
Full name Mikele Benjamin Leigertwood
Date of birth (1982-11-12) 12 November 1982 (age 37)
Place of birth Enfield, London, England
Height 1.88 m (6 ft 2 in)
Playing position Defensive midfielder
Youth career
Wimbledon
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2001–2004 Wimbledon 56 (2)
2001–2002Leyton Orient (loan) 8 (0)
2004–2006 Crystal Palace 63 (1)
2006–2007 Sheffield United 21 (0)
2007–2011 Queens Park Rangers 131 (12)
2010–2011Reading (loan) 22 (1)
2011–2014 Reading 75 (6)
Total 376 (22)
National team
2008–2012 Antigua and Barbuda 11 (1)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 19:01, 6 May 2014 (UTC)
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of 01:02, 13 June 2012 (UTC)

Mikele Benjamin Leigertwood (born 12 November 1982) is an English-born Antiguan retired footballer who last played for Reading. He also played for the Antigua and Barbuda national team.

Club Career[edit]

Wimbledon[edit]

Born in Enfield, Leigertwood began his career with Wimbledon. After progressing through ranks of Wimbledon, he was called up to the first team, along with other youngsters by Manager Terry Burton in September 2001.[1] After his loan spell at Leyton Orient ended, he got his first game at Wimbledon at the end of the 2001–02 season, in a 1–0 defeat against Barnsley.[2]

In November 2001, Leigertwood was loaned out to Leyton Orient and made his professional debut, in a 3–0 win over Oxford United.[3] His performance soon extended his loan spell at Leyton Orient on two occasions.[4] Leigertwood went on to make eight appearances for Leyton Orient before returning to his parent club.

At the start of the 2002–03 season, Leigertwood began to establish himself in the starting eleven for the side.[5] It wasn’t until on 1 October 2002 when he scored his first goal for Wimbledon against Portsmouth in the League Cup.[6] Leigertwood continued to remain in the first team until he suffered injuries in early–March.[7] While on the sidelined, he signed a contract extension with the club, keeping him until 2006.[8] It wasn’t until on 7 April 2003 when he returned from injury, starting the whole game, in a 1–0 win over Sheffield United.[9] At the end of the 2002–03 season, Leigertwood went on to make thirty–three appearances and scoring once in all competitions for the side.

At the start of the 2003–04 season, Wimbledon entered administration.[10] Up until his departure from the club, Leigertwood started every matches in the first half of the season.[11] It wasn’t until on 26 August 2003 when he scored his first goal of the season, in a 3–2 loss against Norwich City.[12] He later scored his second goal of the season on 25 October 2003, in a 3–1 loss against Watford.[13] By the time of his departure at Wimbledon, he played 65 games, scoring just three times for the side.

Crystal Palace[edit]

He transferred to Crystal Palace for £155,000 in January 2004, becoming the first permanent signing of Iain Dowie.[14] Upon joining Crystal Palace, Leigertwood revealed he turned down a move from other clubs, in order to join Crystal Palace.[15]

Leigertwood made his Crystal Palace debut, coming on as a late substitute, in a 6–3 win over Stoke City on 14 February 2004.[16] Since making his debut, he played in 10 league games for the remainder of the 2003–04 season, helping Crystal Palace secure promotion to the FA Premier League after defeating West Ham United in the play-off final to win promotion to the Premiership.[17]

In the 2004–05 season, Leigertwood didn’t make his first appearance of the season until on 26 October 2004, starting the whole game, in a 2–1 win over rivals, Charlton Athletic in the third round of the League Cup.[18] Following his first appearance of the season, Leigertwood began to receive a handful of first team football for the side.[19] It wasn’t until on 22 January 2005 when he scored his first goal for the club against Tottenham Hotspur.[20] Leigertwood spent the rest of the 2004–05 season, playing in the defender and midfield position, as he unsuccessfully prevent Crystal Palace relegated from the Premier League on the final day of the season.[21] At the end of the 2004–05 season, Leigertwood made 23 appearances and scoring once for the side.

In the 2005–06 season, Leigertwood continued to feature in the first team, playing four matches for the side.[22] However, he was absent from the first team, due to ankle injury and was out for two months.[23] It wasn’t until on 22 November 2005 when Leigertwood returned to the starting line-up, coming on as a late substitute, in a 1–0 win over Coventry City.[24] After making his return to the first team, Leigertwood regained his place until he suffered a thigh injury in mid–January.[25] After recovering from a thigh injury, Leigertwood regained his place for the rest of the season.[26] Around this time, the club began negotiation with Leigertwood over a new contract.[27] However, it was reported in the British newspaper that he rejected a new contract.[28] At the end of the 2005–06 season, which saw Crystal Palace unable to return to the Premier League after losing 1–0 to Watford in the play-offs, Leigertwood went on to make thirty appearances in all competitions.[29] Shortly after the play-offs, he was offered a new contract by the club.[30]

Sheffield United[edit]

After the relegation of his club Crystal Palace, he joined Sheffield United on a three-year deal after the Blades paid a £600,000 compensation fee. Although Leigertwood was out of contract, a fee was due as he was under 24 years of age at the time.[31]

Leigertwood made his Sheffield United debut, coming on as a substitute in the 75th minutes, in a 1–1 draw against Liverpool in the opening game of the season.[32] Since making his debut for Sheffield United, Leigertwood quickly became a first team regular for the side until he suffered ankle injury in early–December.[33] It wasn’t until on 30 December 2006 when he made his return from injury, coming on as a substitute in the 63rd minutes, in a 1–0 win over Arsenal.[34] His return was short–lived, however, when Leigertwood suffered ankle injury that kept him out for months and subsequently, plagued with injuries later in the 2006–07 season.[35] Sheffield United, however, was relegated from the Premier League after losing 2–1 to Wigan Athletic on the last game of the season, making the second time that Leigertwood suffered a second relegation from the Premier League in his career.[36] At the end of the 2006–07 season, he went on to make nineteen appearances for the side.

At the start of the 2007–08 season, Leigertwood made four appearances for the side despite struggling to hold a first team place for Sheffield United since being relegated from the Premier League.[37][38]

Queens Park Rangers[edit]

Leigertwood joined Queens Park Rangers for a fee of £900,000 on 31 August 2007.[38][39][40]

Leigertwood made his Queens Park Rangers debut the next day on 1 September 2007, starting the whole game, in a 3–0 loss against Southampton.[41] In a follow–up match, he scored his first Queens Park Rangers goal, in a 1–1 draw against Leicester City.[42] A week later, on 22 September 2007, however, Leigertwood was sent–off in the 81st minutes for a second bookable offence, in a 1–1 draw against Watford.[43] Leigertwood then scored his second goal for the club, in a 2–0 win over Hull City on 3 November 2007.[44] A month later, on 27 December 2007, he was sent–off for the second time this season, in the last minutes of the game, in a 2–1 loss against Plymouth Argyle.[45] Following this, Leigertwood served a three match suspension.[46] He later scored three more goals later in the 2007–08 season, including a brace in a 3–0 win over Stoke City on 2 March 2008.[47] Since joining the club, Leigertwood became a first team regular for the side, as he finished his first season at the club, making forty appearances and scoring five times in all competitions.

In the 2008–09 season, Leigertwood continued to be in a first team regular, playing in either the right–back position or midfield position.[48] Leigertwood started the season well when he set up three goals in three matches between on 23 August 2008 and 14 September 2008.[49] Leigertwood received a red card and four match ban in a match against Birmingham City on 28 October 2008, for a challenge on Lee Carsley.[50] His performance at Queens Park Rangers attracted interest in the January transfer window, who "were wanted by three clubs ready to shell out a £1m-plus" for him.[51] It wasn’t until on 17 January 2009 when Leigterwood scored his first goal of the season, in a 2–0 win over Derby County.[52] Two months later on 17 March 2009, he scored his second goal of the season, in a 1–0 win over Swansea City.[53] At the end of the 2008–09 season, Leigterwood went on to make forty–six appearances and scoring two times in all competitions.

In the 2009–10 season, Leigterwood started the season well when he scored his first goal of the season, in a 1–1 draw against Nottingham Forest on 23 August 2009.[54] His second goal then came on 26 September 2009, in a 5–2 win over Barnsley.[55] His 100th appearance for the club then came on 30 October 2009, starting the whole game, in a 2–1 loss against Leicester City.[56] He continued to regain his first team place for the side.[57] Leigterwood also captained the side in the number of matches in absent of Martin Rowlands.[58] Leigterwood scored two goals in two matches between on 19 December 2009 and 26 December 2009.[59] Shortly after, he signed a three–year contract with the club, keeping him until 2012.[60] In a 1–0 win over Peterborough United on 6 February 2010, he was sent–off for a professional foul on Tommy Rowe.[61] Two months later on 24 April 2010, Leigertwood scored his fifth goal of the season, in a 1–0 win over Barnsley.[62] Despite missing out several matches, due to injury and suspension,[63] he went on to make forty–five appearances and scoring five times in all competitions.

In the 2010–11 season, Leigertwood found his playing his time at Queens Park Rangers reduced and mostly came on as a substitute.[64] As a result, he was fallen out of favour with Neil Warnock.[65] By the time of his departure, he went on to make nine appearances for the side in the 2010–11 season. During his time at Queens Park Rangers, he made 141 appearances and 12 goals for Queens Park Rangers.

Reading[edit]

Leigertwood being marked by Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson during the Cardiff City and Reading match on 2 January 2012.

Leigertwood went on loan to Reading for two months on 23 November 2010.[66] On 27 November 2010, he made his Reading debut, starting the match before coming off in the 77th minutes, in a 0–0 draw against Leeds United.[67] Leigertwood quickly became a first team regular for the side.[68] After a series of consistently good performances, this was extended to the end of the 2010–11 season.[69] He scored his first goal for the club against Stevenage in the FA Cup on 29 January 2011.[70] A week later Leigertwood added another goal to his tally with a 21st minute deflected strike against Cardiff City in a 2–2 draw.[71] During the match, Leigertwood punched Michael Chopra "after a confrontation involving both sets of players, but immediately admitted his part in the melee" and served a three match suspension.[72] After serving a three match suspension, his performance earned him Reading Post AHG Group-sponsored player-of-the-month award for February.[73] He continued to help the side reach fifth place, qualifying for the Championship play–offs.[74] Leigertwood played all three matches in the Championship play–offs, as Reading lost 4–2 against Swansea City in the Championship play-off Final.[75] Despite missing out several matches, due to injury and suspension,[76] he went on to make twenty–nine appearances and scoring two times in all competitions for the side.

In May 2011, it was announced that Reading had signed Leigertwood on a three year contract.[77] Leigertwood's first game after signing for the club on a permanent basis came in the opening game of the season, in a 2–2 draw against Millwall.[78] Since joining the club on a permanent basis, he quickly became a starting eleven for the side.[79] However, his performance at the start of the season came under criticism from Reading supporters.[80] Despite this, Leigertwood's first goal of the 2011–12 season came at home to Southampton in a 1–1 draw on 22 October 2011.[81] Leigertwood started in every matches until he suffered a thigh injury that saw missed three matches.[82] After returning to the first team from injury, he quickly regained his first team place for the side.[83] His second goal of the campaign came at home to Leicester City in a 3–1 win, and this was followed up with strikes against Blackpool and West Ham United as Reading surged towards promotion with an incredible run of games of which Leigertwood was an important figure in.[84] After returning from a knee injury, he returned to the starting lineup, where he key role Leigertwood had played was rewarded when he scored the winning goal in a 1–0 victory at home to Nottingham Forest, which secured Reading's promotion back to the top flight after a four-year absence.[85] At the end of the 2011–12 season, he went on to make forty–two appearances and scoring five times in all competitions.

In the 2012–13 season, Liegertwood continued to regain his first team place for the side, as the club are playing in the Premier League.[86] In early–October, however, he suffered ankle injury that saw him sidelined for one match.[87] After returning from injury, he scored his first Premier League goal for Reading in a 3–3 draw with Fulham with a superb strike from 20 yards on 27 October 2012.[88] Three days later, on 30 October 2012, he scored his second goal for the club, in the League Cup campaign, as Reading lost 7–5 against Arsenal after Arsenal were 4–0 down before coming back to win the game 7–5 after extra-time.[89] After being sidelined in early–2013 due to injury, Leigterwood then captained the side for the first time and scored his third goal of the season, in a 4–0 win over Sheffield United in the third round of the FA Cup.[90] He continued to be in the starting line-up until he was dropped from the first team for the rest of the 2012–13 season, as Leigterwood went on to make thirty–four appearances and scoring three times in all competitions.[91] Metro named Leigterwood as the Premier League’s worst XI of the season.[92]

Ahead of the 2013–14 season, Leigterwood suffered an ankle injury during the pre–season, having been on a knife since May.[93] In September 2013, he returned to training after recovering from the ankle injury.[94] Upon returning to training from injury, Leigterwood’s return was praised by Manager Nigel Adkins.[95] However, his return was short–lived and his injury plagued was plagued throughout 2013 and early 2014.[96] By March, Leigterwood returned to training.[97] After a year out injured, Leigertwood made his Reading return on 8 April 2014.[98] In the follow–up match, however, he came on as a substitute for Danny Williams in the 61st minutes, but was sent–off for a second bookable offence, in a 1–1 draw against Leicester City.[99] After missing out two matches, Leigertwood went on to play the last two matches for the side.[100] At the end of the 2013–14 season, Leigertwood went on to make four appearances for the side.

On 6 May 2014, Leigertwood was released from Reading, along with five players.[101] and in July joined Nottingham Forest on trial.[102] Whilst on trial, Leigertwood sustained a hip injury which forced him to retire from the game.[103] His official retirement wasn’t confirmed until the following year.[104]

Post–Playing Career[edit]

After retiring from professional football, Leigertwood took up a coaching role at Maccabi London Lions as their Sunday Team Coach.[105]

On 19 July 2016 Leigertwood returned to Reading as Academy Loan Manager.[106]

International Career[edit]

Leigertwood is eligible to represent Antigua and Barbuda. Willie Donachie, Antigua and Barbuda's manager, tried to get Leigertwood into the squad for a World Cup Qualifier in June 2008, but Leigertwood had a wedding to attend.[107] He’s also eligible to represent Saint Vincent and the Grenadines.[108]

While serving a four match ban after receiving a red card in a match against Birmingham City on 28 October 2008, he accepted a call up for the 2008 Caribbean Championship to represent Antigua and Barbuda.[citation needed] He made his national debut on 5 November 2008 in a 3–2 loss against Trinidad and Tobago and scored his first goal in their next match against Guyana.[citation needed] In November 2010, he returned to the national team and participated in the second stage of the 2010 Caribbean Championship, playing in all three matches.[109]

Career statistics[edit]

Club[edit]

As of match played 3 May 2014.
Club Season League[A] FA Cup League Cup Other[B] Total
Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Wimbledon 2001–02[110] 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0
2002–03[111] 28 0 2 0 3 1 0 0 33 1
2003–04[112] 27 2 3 0 1 0 0 0 31 2
Total 56 2 5 0 4 1 0 0 65 3
Leyton Orient (loan) 2001–02[113] 8 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 10 0
Total 8 0 2 0 0 0 0 0 10 0
Crystal Palace 2003–04[114] 12 0 0 0 0 0 3 0 15 0
2004–05[115]
20 1 1 0 2 0 0 0 23 1
2005–06[116]
27 0 1 0 1 0 1 0 30 0
Total 59 1 2 0 3 0 4 0 68 1
Sheffield United
2006–07[117]
19 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 19 0
2007–08[118]
2 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 4 0
Total 21 0 0 0 2 0 0 0 23 0
Queens Park Rangers
2007–08[119]
40 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 40 5
2008–09[120]
42 2 2 0 2 0 0 0 46 2
2009–10[121] 40 5 2 0 3 0 0 0 45 5
2010–11[122] 9 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 10 0
Total 131 12 4 0 6 0 0 0 141 12
Reading 2010–11[123] 22 1 4 1 0 0 3 0 29 2
2011–12[124] 41 5 1 0 0 0 0 0 42 5
2012–13 30 1 2 1 2 1 0 0 34 3
2013–14 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
Total 97 7 7 2 2 1 3 0 109 10
Career totals 372 21 20 2 17 2 7 0 416 25
A. ^ The "League" column constitutes appearances and goals (including those as a substitute) in the Premier League and the Football League.
B. ^ The "Other" column constitutes appearances and goals (including those as a substitute) in the play-offs.

International[edit]

Antigua and Barbuda[125]
Year Apps Goals
2008 3 1
2009 0 0
2010 3 0
2011 3 0
2012 2 0
Total 11 1

International goals[edit]

Mikele Leigertwood: International Goals
# Date Venue Opponent Score Result Competition
1 7 November 2008 Marvin Lee Stadium, Macoya, Trinidad and Tobago  Guyana 1–0 2-1 2008 Caribbean Championship

Personal Life[edit]

In March 2010, Leigertwood was involved in the Kick It Out's latest campaign, which aims to raise awareness of homophobia in football.[126] During his time at Reading, he became the Royals’ ‘Reading Stars’ ambassador.[127]

Growing up, he supported Arsenal.[128] Leigertwood is good friends with Jobi McAnuff, having known each other since school and were teammates at Wimbledon, Crystal Palace and Reading.[129] He’s a father of two children.[130]


Honours[edit]

Club[edit]

Queens Park Rangers
Reading

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