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Wednesday, 10 April, 2002, 17:09 GMT 18:09 UK
Profile: Jonathan Woodgate
Jonathan Woodgate, left, with Leicester's Darren Eadie
Woodgate was a star player at Leeds United
By the BBC's Adam Mynott

A fractured jaw is the latest blow to Jonathan Woodgate's once promising football career.

Since being found guilty of affray in connection with the attack on a student in Leeds, the defender has not been considered for England and will not be at the World Cup.

And now even his hopes of playing a part in Leeds' fading bid for the fourth and final Champions League qualifying place have been dashed.

Woodgate was born into a middle class family in the Nunthorpe district of Middlesbrough and supported his hometown club as a boy.

  Woodgate's troubles
December 2001: Found guilty of affray
March 2002: Convicted of driving at 90mph
March 2002: Told he would not be considered for World Cup
April 2002: Jaw broken in attack

Woodgate was always considered to be "a good kid" at his school in Nunthorpe and he showed early talent at football.

He resisted overtures to join one of Boro's junior sides so that he could play for a local team, Marton.

His parents paid for him to go to the Marton Football Academy on Teesside.

The chief coach there, Keith Sykes, remembered him as "a good boy who always tried hard and who was an able footballer".

But he added: "It's often hard to spot which way they'll go in terms of ability and temperament".

Woodgate was spotted playing in a local cup final by football scouts Andy and Eddie Beaglehole.

He was invited for trials at Elland Road and eventually signed for the club at the age of 13.

Woodgate quickly changed to his current position of centre-half, and was part of the side which won the FA Youth Cup in 1997.

The following year, he made his debut for the England Under-18s, and went on to captain the side.

  Woodgate's career
DOB: 22.01.80
Place of birth: Middlesbrough
Position: Defender
Signed for Leeds: 01.08.98
(joined club at age 13)
Career appearances: 114
Career Goals: 4

Leeds boss David O'Leary gave Woodgate, then 18, a chance in the first team in what was O'Leary's second game in charge after replacing George Graham.

In June 1999, Woodgate was in the England line-up for their European championship qualifier against Bulgaria in Sofia.

He agreed a new four-year contract at Elland Road shortly afterwards.

A composed figure on the ball, he had initially been a midfielder, and enjoyed emulating Leeds star David Batty.

Woodgate holds the rare distinction of going from youth team to full international in just one season.

He won a full England cap before he was selected for the Under-21 team.

Distractions

At the age of just 21, he was already a crucial member of the Leeds squad.

And when Rio Ferdinand arrived at Elland Road in November 2000, many observers believed he and Woodgate could provide the defensive bedrock for England, as well as for Leeds, for years to come.

That has so far not been the case, as injuries and the distractions of the court case restricted his appearances in the Leeds first team.

At the start of this season, O'Leary gradually reintroduced Woodgate into the Leeds back line, and he began to show glimpses of his once dominant defending.

Now though, he finds himself picking up the pieces of his career yet again.

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See also:

10 Apr 02 | UK News
28 Mar 02 | UK News
14 Dec 01 | England
24 Mar 02 | World Cup 2002
Links to more Leeds United stories are at the foot of the page.


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