Friday, August 8, 2008

Jamie Carragher

Jamie Carragher (23)

Full Name: Jamie Carragher
Position: Defender
Squad number:23
Date of birth: 28/01/1978
Birth place: Bootle, England
Former clubs: LFC Youth Academy
LFC 1st team games: 544
LFC 1st team goals: 5
England International caps: 34
England International goals: 0
Career Appearances: 544
Carrer Goals: 5
Transfer Fee: £0 m

Jamie Carragher Profile

The ultimate one-club player, and with one of the biggest hearts in football, Jamie Carragher is Mr Liverpool.

The vice-captain has been instrumental in the Reds' success over the last decade, during which he's made more than 500 appearances.

One of the heroes of Istanbul, it's hard to imagine that famous comeback occurring without him.

His Liverpool journey began back in October 1996 when he signed professional terms following a successful apprenticeship.

The Bootle-born youngster had already represented England Under 21s, and earlier that year was part of Liverpool's first FA Youth Cup winning team alongside Michael Owen and David Thompson.

Carra's debut came at Middlesbrough on January 8, 1997, when he was brought on for Rob Jones in the Coca-Cola Cup. Roy Evans handed him a first start in a Premiership clash with Aston Villa on January 18, 1998. Remarkably, he marked his full debut with a rare goal.

His passion, enthusiasm and versatility soon ensured regular starts, whether at right-back, left-back, centre-half or defensive midfield.

Such adaptability also earned him an England call-up, with Kevin Keegan dishing out a first cap against Hungary in April 1999. This substitute appearance didn't put an end to his under-21 career, however, and he went on to play 27 times at this level - a record which has since been broken by clubmate Scott Carson.

Carra was an integral part of Gerard Houllier's treble-winning side of 2001, playing 58 games, most of which were at left-back.

Sadly, like teammate Steven Gerrard, injury ruled him out of the 2002 World Cup, and there was more heartbreak a year later when a fierce tackle from Blackburn's Lucas Neill at Ewood Park forced him to miss six months of the 2003-04 campaign.

Despite this, he was part of the England squad for the 2004 European Championships in Holland and Belgium. Disappointingly, he played no part, but the following season was to be a career-defining one for Liverpool's number 23.

While Carra had always been a first-team regular at Anfield, he'd somehow struggled to get the recognition he deserved. Each new signing was seen as a threat to his place, and the Kop had yet to reveal its dream of a team of Carraghers.

The arrival of new boss Rafa Benitez changed all this, with the Scouser getting the permanent centre-back slot he'd always craved.

Carra was soon being labelled the most underrated defender in the country, not least for his heroics in helping the Reds win the 2005 Champions League.

One of the most iconic images from the club's glorious night in Istanbul is that of him collapsing with cramp after yet another last-ditch interception.

He and Sami Hyypia had formed one of the tightest defensive partnerships in Europe, and it came as no surprise when he was voted's Player of the Year.

In July 2005, the defender signed a new four-year deal at Anfield. His loyalty was rewarded a month later when, in the absence of the injured Steven Gerrard, Carra lifted the European Super Cup following victory over CSKA Moscow in Monte Carlo.

There was more silverware at the end of the season despite a 21st minute own goal in the FA Cup final against West Ham. It was the defender's 10th final in as many years - and what better way to prepare for the World Cup.

By now, Carra was a regular in Sven's squad, and he played three games in Germany 2006, including a starting role against Sweden in place of the injured Gary Neville. The competition ended cruelly, however, when he missed a penalty in the quarter-final shoot-out against Portugal. Frank Lampard and Gerrard did the same, and England were out.

At least he had the consolation of being voted seventh in's 100 Players Who Shook The Kop series, beating the likes of Alan Hansen, Phil Thompson and Emlyn Hughes to be the highest placed defender.

In August 2006, Carra wore the captain's armband in the Community Shield against champions Chelsea, jointly holding the silver dish aloft with injured skipper Gerrard.

The ensuing season was one of many milestones for the now Liverpool veteran. In December he scored his first league goal of the century against Fulham, taking his overall tally to four. Five months later, in the Champions League semi-final second leg against Chelsea, he broke Ian Callaghan's club record of 89 European appearances.

Unsurprisingly, Carra again committed his future to the Reds in the close season by signing another four-year contract.

The summer of 2007 also saw him retire from international football following continued frustration at a lack of opportunities.

It certainly did his club form no harm and six months later he became only the 12th player to make 500 appearances for Liverpool. Carra walked out to a guard of honour which included boss Rafa Benitez when Luton visited Anfield on January 15, 2008. The defender was also made captain for the night at the request of Stevie G.

As if all this wasn't enough, he then wrote a new page in Kop history by becoming the first player to represent the Reds 100 times in continental competition. Fittingly, the milestone was reached in one of Europe's top arenas, the San Siro, as Rafa's Redmen dumped Inter Milan, the runaway leaders of Serie A, out of the Champions League.

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