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Tuesday 22nd July, K.O. 19:45 (UK)

Lee Carsley

Midfielder

Lee Carsley
  • Born: 28/02/1974
  • Birthplace: Birmingham
  • Nationality: Republic of Ireland
  • Apps/ Goals: 184 (14) / 13
  • Debut: 2002 (v Arsenal at Goodison)
  • One of Walter Smith's final signings, the Republic of Ireland international has proved to be a lynchpin in David Moyes' senior squad.

    Signed from Coventry in February, 2002 for £1.9m, Carsley's whole-hearted approach to life in the midfield engine room has made him a valuable member of the senior squad.

    That was never more so than during the 2004/05 season, when he made more first team appearances than any other member of the Blues' squad.

    Of those 41 run-outs as Everton marched towards a fourth place finish and qualification for the Champions League, one stood out above all the rest.

    It may not have been the most spectacular goal seen at Goodison during that thrilling season, but Lee Carsley's winner in the derby against Liverpool was certainly the most savoured. And it justifiably won the club's goal of the season award.

    But goals are not the bedrock of Carsley's success - or the key to his importance for the team. He is an unsung hero - a player whose importance is only fully realised by those who watch him week in and week out.

    Carsley's career began with Derby, where he emerged through the youth ranks to make his debut in 1992 before going on to play for the Rams 166 times during almost a decade in the Midlands.

    He enjoyed the thrill of promotion to the Premiership in the mid 90s, where he became a key player occupying the holding role in midfield.

    That form led to a move to Blackburn for £3.4m in March 1999 but within months of his arrival at Ewood Park Carsley suffered the disappointment of relegation.

    After just 21 months with Rovers, he was on his way again - this time to Coventry City for £2m.

    Once again, relegation beckoned and it was midway through the following season that the Blues rescued Carsley from the first division.

    He has now played more than 100 times for Everton, famously scoring the winning goal in the Goodison derby against Liverpool in December 2004.

    In December 2005 he signed a contract extension to keep him at Goodison until June 2007.

    Lee missed almost all of the 2005/6 season through injury, but did return towards the end, only for suspension to force him to miss the last three games.

    But he returned revitalised the following season and was an ever-present in the midfield well into 2007.

    He played in every match of the season and was a key figure in securing a top six finish. As a result, the Irish international agreed a new one-year contract in the summer of 2007.

    Carsley was equally as important a figure the following season, once again an integral part of the Toffees' midfield. He even popped up with a vital late goal in the 3-1 win over Birmingham.

    The likeable Midlander was his usual consistent self in the second half of the season, and so it was with a certain degree of surprise that he decided to leave the club when his contract expired at the end of the season.

    He returned to his home city, spending two seasons at Birmingham and another at Coventry before hanging up his boots in the summer of 2011. He subsequently became a youth coach for the Sky Blues.

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