Friday 22 September 2017

The 6 stages of Scott Parker, the Premier League’s industrious Englishman

Parker was something of a permanent fixture in the Premier League for over a decade.

Scott Parker has called time on his playing career (Nigel French/EMPICS Sport, Nick Potts/PA, Andrew Matthews/EMPICS Sport)
Scott Parker has called time on his playing career (Nigel French/EMPICS Sport, Nick Potts/PA, Andrew Matthews/EMPICS Sport)

By Max McLean

Former England midfielder and footballer of many London clubs Scott Parker has retired – but which stage of his career is he best remembered for?

The 36-year-old played for five London clubs during his career – here’s how it went.

1. Promising Youth Scott Parker

Charlton Athletic

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(Tony Marshall/EMPICS Sport)

Parker made his way in the world of football as a trainee at Charlton, and swiftly made his name as a dynamic midfielder.

By the 2000/01 season as a 20-year-old Parker had made himself a permanent fixture in the centre of the Addicks’ midfield, and in 2003 he made his England debut.

A young, talented, English central midfielder? It wouldn’t be long before a big club came calling…

2. Big fish, bigger pond Scott Parker

Chelsea

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(PA)

Joining Chelsea in the 2004 January transfer window all seemed perfect for Parker – but his arrival at Stamford Bridge was unfortunately timed.

Parker had joined the club in the middle of a vast number of transfers as the club’s new owner Roman Abramovich began turning Chelsea into one of the most successful football clubs in the world.

With players such as Juan Sebastian Veron, Damien Duff, Claude Makelele, Joe Cole and Arjen Robben joining future club legend Frank Lampard, there was no room for Parker, who struggled to make an impact and left the club in the summer of 2005.

3. Plying his trade Scott Parker

Newcastle and West Ham

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(Jon Buckle/EMPICS Sport)

Parker fell out of the England setup around that time, but began repairing his image first at Newcastle and then at West Ham.

Still youthful, Parker’s reputation as a midfield general grew – with 29 league appearances in the 2006/07 season he then moved south to London, where he spent four seasons at Upton Park adding goals to his defensive game. Furthermore, the former Charlton youth player had regained his place in the England squad under Fabio Capello.

The Hammers were relegated in 2011, but a now 30-year-old Parker had been voted Player of the Year by the Football Writers’ Association, and obviously had a lot more to offer.

4. England’s saviour Scott Parker

Tottenham

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(Anthony Devlin/PA)

Parker’s arrival at Tottenham saw the scrappy midfielder given a second chance at playing for a top Premier League team, and he took it with both hands.

Leaving the goals to the forwards, Parker was an essential cog in a Spurs team that finished in the top four in 2012, but unfortunately were kept from a Champions League spot after Chelsea’s stunning win in the final that year.

But the season hadn’t been for nothing – Parker’s form in the league had cast the midfielder as England’s answer to the talented passing of the continent’s best footballing nations.

It was with that in mind that he was a starter for Roy Hodgson’s England side at Euro 2012. While the tournament ended in disappointment at the quarter-final stage, Parker started each of the Three Lions’ four games.

After another good season with Tottenham in 2012/13, where Spurs finished fifth, the arrivals of midfielders Paulinho and Etienne Capoue meant regular football was no longer guaranteed for Parker, who moved to Fulham that summer at the age of 32.

5. Championship wilderness Scott Parker

Fulham

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(Yui Mok/EMPICS Sport)

Parker found himself in demand at Fulham, a regular starter during his four years at the club despite being past his footballing prime, but couldn’t prevent the Cottagers’ relegation from the Premier League in 2014.

Taking on the role of captain, Parker guided the team through the muddy waters of the Championship, ensuring they didn’t fall as far as League One despite two tricky seasons where England’s third tier looked a possible destination.

Fulham even made the play-offs last season, but at the age of 36, Parker decided to call time on a wonderful career as a professional footballer.

6. Retired Scott Parker

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(Steve Paston/EMPICS Sport)

Parker’s last professional outing saw him coming on as a second-half substitute for Fulham in their 2-1 victory at Sheffield Wednesday on the final day of the Championship season. He was an unused substitute in both legs of the club’s play-off defeat against Reading.

“When I started my career at Charlton Athletic all those years ago I could only have dreamt at that time just what was to follow over the next two decades,” he said in a statement.

What does the future hold for the 36-year-old? If it’s punditry, stick him in the middle of the sofa and he’ll be fine.

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