Wigan Athletic goalkeeper Chris Kirkland has signed on loan for Doncaster Rovers until 31st December. He is the second player with Latics connections that Donny’s new manager Dean Saunders has recruited this month. Chris will be teaming up with his former team mate Pascal Chimbonda and he is set to make his debut against Leeds United tomorrow evening should clearance be ratified in time.
Former England Under 21’s and full international Chris was once the worlds costliest goalkeeper when Liverpool paid £6.000.000 for his services in 2001. However, injuries blighted his career and Paul Jewell decided to take a gamble on Chris, signing him on a six month loan deal on 11th July 2006 from Liverpool in order for the player himself to prove his fitness. The deal was with a view of making the deal permanent. His first game for Latics was against Iranian giants Perspolis Tehran on 25th July 2006 in an Austrian training camp game which Latics won 4-2.
Just days prior to the Premiership campaign started he made his England debut when he came on as a half time substitute for Paul Robinson when England beat Greece at Old Trafford on 16th August 2006. He made his Latics Premiership debut on 19th August 2006 against Newcastle United at St James’ Park, with Latics going down 1-2. By the end of the Premiership campaign he had made the move permanent and amassed 17 Premiership starts. You’ve guessed it, his season was cut short by injury!
The following season (2007/08) saw him maintain a clean bill of health and on 1st February 2008 he was called up into the England squad again. He missed just one Premiership game during the 2007/08 season ans at the end of it his Latics career total was 54 Premiership games played. He signed a new four year deal with the club on 21st May 2008 and by the end of season 2009/10 he had made 118 Premier League appearances for the Blues.
On 25th November 2010 Chris was loaned to Leicester City for a month after being replaced as first choice goalkeeper by Ali Al-Habsi. He returned to the club less than a week later after picking up an injury in his first training session with the Championship outfit. He recovered sufficiently to return to Leicester two weeks later and made his debut for the Foxes on 18th December 2010. The game was against Ipswich Town at a snow covered Portman Road which ended in defeat by 0-3. To add insult to injury (if you’ll pardon the pun), Chris’ former Latics team mate Jason Scotland scored Ipswich’s second goal!
After two more games, he returned to the DW Stadium only for a proposed loan move to Cardiff City for the remainder of season to break down in February 2011. As at the end of season 2010/11 his Latics career total read, 122 Premier League games played.
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