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Peter Whittingham

Peter Michael Whittingham /ˈhwɪtɪŋəm/ (born 8 September 1984) is an English professional footballer who is a free agent who most recently played for EFL Championship club Blackburn Rovers, being released on 31 August 2018. His primary position is as a central midfielder, although he can operate as a winger on both the left and right, as well as a second-striker.

Peter Whittingham
Peter Whittingham.jpg
Whittingham playing for Cardiff City in 2011
Personal information
Full name Peter Michael Whittingham[1]
Date of birth (1984-09-08) 8 September 1984 (age 35)[1]
Place of birth Nuneaton, England
Height 5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)[1]
Playing position Midfielder
Club information
Current team
Free agent
Youth career
0000–2003 Aston Villa
Senior career*
Years Team Apps (Gls)
2003–2007 Aston Villa 56 (1)
2005Burnley (loan) 7 (0)
2005Derby County (loan) 11 (0)
2007–2017 Cardiff City 413 (85)
2017–2018 Blackburn Rovers 20 (0)
National team
2004–2007 England U21 17 (3)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league only and correct as of 17:43, 6 May 2018 (UTC)

He was part of the Aston Villa team that won the FA Youth Cup in 2002, and a year later he made his Premier League debut. Whittingham had loans at Championship clubs Burnley and Derby County in 2005. In January 2007, he signed for Cardiff City for a fee of £350,000.

In eleven seasons at Cardiff, Whittingham played 457 competitive matches and scored 96 goals, putting him seventh all-time appearances list and ninth among their goalscorers. In his time at the club, they won the Championship in 2013, and reached the 2008 FA Cup Final and 2012 Football League Cup Final. He was named three times in the Championship's PFA Team of the Year, and his 20-goal haul in 2009–10 made him the division's top scorer.

Club careerEdit

Aston VillaEdit

Whittingham was born in Nuneaton, Warwickshire[1] and attended King Henry VIII School, Coventry.[2] Whittingham was part of Aston Villa's FA Youth Cup winning side of 2002.[1]

He made his first team debut on 21 April 2003 against Newcastle United, as a half-time substitution for Gareth Barry in a 1–1 away draw.[3] He went on to make 32 appearances in his first full season at the club, season 2003–04, scoring his first goal against Wycombe Wanderers in the League Cup third round on 23 September 2003, a 5–0 win at Adams Park.[4] In November that year, he signed a contract that would have lasted until 2007.[5] He scored his only league goal for Villa on 6 November 2004, opening a 3–0 win over Portsmouth at Villa Park.[6]

On 14 February 2005, Whittingham signed for Championship club Burnley on a one-month loan. Manager Steve Cotterill said it was to help with their situation of only having two central midfielders at the club, and hoped that he would do as well as Gary Cahill, another young player they had loaned from Villa.[7] He returned to the Championship on 15 September, joining Derby County on a three-month loan.[8]

Cardiff CityEdit

On 11 January 2007, after making just four appearances for Villa since the start of the season, Whittingham, who had become surplus to requirements at Villa Park and was out of contract in the summer, was transferred to Cardiff City for a reported fee of £350,000.[9] He quickly established himself in the side and was a first team member until the end of the year with midfield competition Joe Ledley moved to left-back due to a small squad.

The arrival of Tony Capaldi for the 2007–08 season meant that Ledley was no longer needed to cover in defence and went back to his normal position of left midfield, meaning Whittingham started the season on the bench. By mid-November Cardiff found themselves just above the relegation zone which prompted a minor reshuffle from boss Dave Jones involving Chris Gunter and Whittingham returning to the starting line-up. His return to the side saw him moved to an unfamiliar role on the right side of midfield but he soon settled into the role and started the majority of the remaining matches of the season, as well as being the Cardiff's top scorer with three goals during their FA Cup run, which saw Whittingham score in matches against Chasetown, Wolverhampton Wanderers and Middlesbrough, before Cardiff eventually lost 1–0 to Portsmouth in the final.

The start of the 2008–09 season saw Whittingham continue playing on the right side of midfield, scoring his first goal of the season on 26 August in a 2–1 victory over Milton Keynes Dons in the League Cup.[10] Whittingham ruptured ankle ligaments during a 2–1 win over Crystal Palace on 15 November which was expected to keep him out for up to three months.[11] However, he returned to the side ahead of schedule, coming on as a late substitute during a 1–1 draw with Reading on 26 December.[12]

In the first game of the 2009–10 season, Whittingham converted a penalty during a 4–0 win over Scunthorpe United in the first ever competitive match at the Cardiff City Stadium[13] and scored in consecutive rounds of the League Cup in wins over Dagenham & Redbridge[14] and Bristol Rovers.[15] Having been appointed the first choice penalty taker for the club,[16] he took his league goal tally to three with goals in consecutive matches in a 3–1 defeat to against Sheffield Wednesday[17] followed by a 6–1 win over Derby County, He continued his scoring form with a brace against Watford[18] and goals against Crystal Palace[19] and Coventry City[20] followed by a hat-trick against Sheffield United.[21] On 14 November 2009 Whittingham earned the October Player of the Month award.[22] On 24 April, Whittingham scored a free-kick during a 3–2 win over Sheffield Wednesday,[23] and the following day was named in the 2009–10 PFA Team of the Year for the Championship.[24]

Following the loan arrival of Craig Bellamy, Whittingham started the 2010–11 season in a new central midfield role. His performances were praised by manager Dave Jones.[25] After scoring eight penalties in the previous campaign, Whittingham saw his first two penalties saved in this campaign, causing Jones to announce that Whittingham had been taken off penalty duty.[26] However, he did take and score Cardiff's next penalty against Coventry City in a 2–1 win[27] which added to his first two goals of the season scored from a brace of free kicks scored against Bristol City three days previously.[28] Whittingham scored a fantastic volley against Barnsley on 13 March, which ended up being voted Football League Goal of the Year award for 2011.[29] At the end of the season, Cardiff failed to gain promotion for a second year running and Whittingham was heavily linked with a move away from Cardiff City Stadium, being linked with newly promoted Norwich City and Portsmouth.[30]

 
Whittingham playing for Cardiff City in 2012

Despite the links with a move away from the Welsh capital, new Cardiff boss, Malky Mackay insisted that Whittingham was central to his plans.[31] Whittingham started the first game against West Ham United, and scored his first goal of the season against Oxford United after coming on for Solomon Taiwo. Whittingham made his 300th league appearance in a 1–1 draw with Burnley. On 26 August, Whittingham signed a contract extension to keep him at the club until at least the summer of 2014.[32] Whittingham played a big role in Cardiff's centre midfield, producing many impressive performances and scoring several fine goals, including direct freekicks against Peterborough and Crystal Palace as well as a sublime chip from 35 yards away to Reading. His 50th league goal for Cardiff came on 22 November against Coventry City. His four goals in five games led to Whittingham being nominated for the November Football League Championship Player of the Month.[33]

On 30 December 2011, Mackay revealed that the club had rejected a bid, thought to be around £3 million, from West Ham United for the player.[34] Following a goalscoring drought, Whittingham scored a penalty against Leicester in February and then scored straight from a corner against Peterborough. In February, Whittingham was nominated for the Championship Player of the Year award.[35] Whittingham was part of all the games in the League Cup campaign, which eventually saw Cardiff lose 3–2 on penalties to Liverpool in the final at Wembley Stadium. He made his 250th Cardiff appearance in a 2–2 draw with Brighton, in which he scored on 7 March. Whittingham was voted the best player outside the Premier League in FourFourTwo magazine.[36] Whittingham then won his second Cardiff City player of the year award at the end of the season.[37] He was later named in the PFA Team of the Year for the Championship.[38]

During the close season, more speculation about Whittingham's future in the Welsh capital arose, this time from Premier League side West Bromwich Albion. Whittingham said that he was fully committed to Cardiff, stating: "I'm happy here and until the gaffer [Malky Mackay] wants to sell me I'm here."[39] On 28 August 2012, Whittingham signed a new 3-year deal at Cardiff, ending speculation on his future.[40] Whittingham opened his scoring account for the 2012–13 season, on 2 September with a hat-trick in a 3–1 home win over Wolverhampton Wanderers. He then scored his fourth during the following game, converting a penalty against Leeds United, his 350th career appearance. After a drop in form, Whittingham was left out of the side towards the close of the season, but managed his eighth and final goal of the campaign with a last-minute penalty at home to Blackburn Rovers on 1 April. Whittingham collected a winner's medal as Cardiff lifted the Championship trophy following April's home encounter with Bolton Wanderers.

Cardiff's debut Premier League season started off brightly with wins over champions Manchester City and Fulham.[41] Whittingham scored his first Premier League goal in nine years against Hull City.[42] Despite the bright start, Cardiff were eventually relegated after just one season.[43]

In July 2014, Whittingham signed a new three-year deal keeping him till in the Welsh capital until 2017.[44] Despite a disappointing campaign for the Bluebirds, who finished in 11th, their lowest finish in 8 years, Whittingham was selected in The Football Manager Team of the Decade at the Football League Awards, on 19 April.[45]

Cardiff rejected two bids from unnamed clubs for Whittingham in the summer and was described as the club's kingpin, by manager Russell Slade.[46][47] Whittingham scored twice in a 4–1 win over Brighton & Hove Albion and overtook John Toshack and Hughie Ferguson in the club's all-time leading scorers list in English league competitions.[48] Cardiff missed out on the play-offs at the end of the season.

Whittingham played less frequently for Cardiff after Neil Warnock was appointed manager in October 2016.[49] As it was expected that his contract would expire at the end of the season, he received a standing ovation when substituted in his final home match, against Newcastle in 2017.[49]

Blackburn RoversEdit

On 13 June 2017, Whittingham joined newly relegated EFL League One side Blackburn Rovers on a two-year contract effective from the expiration of his Cardiff contract in July.[50] Warnock praised him for his loyalty to the club,[51] and had offered Whittingham a one-year contract extension but made it clear that he would feature less often than he had done before.[49]

He made his Rovers debut on 6 August, playing the full 90 minutes as they began the season with a 2–1 loss at Southend United.[52]

It was announced on 31 August 2018, that Whittingham had his contract terminated by Rovers by mutual consent.[53]

International careerEdit

Whittingham was an England under-21 international, making his debut against Netherlands in 2004[54] and was part of the squad that competed in the 2007 UEFA Under-21 Championship held in the Netherlands. He made one substitute appearance in the tournament coming on late in a 2–2 draw with Italy.[55]

Whittingham scored three goals for the under-21 side. He scored his first two in a match against Wales[56] before scoring his last goal in a match against Norway in February 2006.[57]

Career statisticsEdit

As of match played 26 September 2017
Appearances and goals by club, season and competition
Club Season League FA Cup League Cup Other Total
Division Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals Apps Goals
Aston Villa 2002–03[58] Premier League 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
2003–04[59] Premier League 32 0 1 0 6 1 39 1
2004–05[60] Premier League 13 1 0 0 2 0 15 1
2005–06[61] Premier League 4 0 0 0 0 0 4 0
2006–07[62] Premier League 3 0 0 0 1 0 4 0
Total 56 1 1 0 9 1 66 2
Burnley (loan) 2004–05[60] Championship 7 0 2 0 9 0
Derby County (loan) 2005–06[61] Championship 11 0 11 0
Cardiff City 2006–07[62] Championship 19 4 19 4
2007–08[63] Championship 41 5 6 3 4 1 51 9
2008–09[64][a] Championship 33 3 2 0 3 1 38 4
2009–10[66] Championship 41 20 4 1 3 2 3[b] 2 51 25
2010–11[67] Championship 45 11 1 0 2 0 2[b] 0 50 11
2011–12[68] Championship 46 12 0 0 7 1 2[b] 0 55 13
2012–13[69] Championship 40 8 0 0 0 0 40 8
2013–14[70] Premier League 32 3 2 0 0 0 34 3
2014–15[71] Championship 43 6 2 0 0 0 45 6
2015–16[72] Championship 36 6 1 0 0 0 37 6
2016–17[73] Championship 37 7 0 0 0 0 37 7
Total 413 85 18 4 19 5 7 2 457 96
Blackburn Rovers 2017–18[74] League One 20 0 0 0 1 0 2[c] 0 23 0
2018–19[75] Championship 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0 1 0
Total 20 0 0 0 2 0 2 0 24 0
Career total 507 86 21 4 30 6 9 2 567 98
  1. ^ Soccerbase has incorrect stats for the 2008–09 season having missed a substitute appearance in a match against Queens Park Rangers on 25 February 2009[65]
  2. ^ a b c Appearances in Championship play-offs
  3. ^ Appearance in the EFL Trophy

HonoursEdit

ReferencesEdit

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External linksEdit