Matthew Etherington (born August 14, 1981 in Truro, Cornwall) is an English football player. Etherington, a left-sided midfielder and winger, currently plays for Premier League club West Ham United.
Etherington came through the youth ranks at Peterborough United and made his League debut at 15 years and 262 days old, in a 2-1 win at Brentford on 3 May 1997. He made a further two appearances in the following season but made his breakthrough into the first team in 1998/99 when he made 33 appearances in all competitions scoring three goals. At the end of December 1999, he joined Tottenham Hotspur from Peterborough in a deal that valued him at ú500,000. He made a total of 58 appearances for Peterborough in all competitions, scoring six goals.
Etherington joined Tottenham Hotspur from Peterborough in a move that saw Simon Davies join the North London club as part of the same deal. He struggled to establish himself during his three year stint at Spurs and, in 2001, spent two months on loan to Bradford City, where he made 13 appearances and scored one goal. Having only started five Premiership games since arriving from Peterborough in 1999, he handed in a transfer request in June 2002 saying that he had decided that his career would be best served away from Spurs. However, no transfer was forthcoming but he broke into the first team during the 2002/03 season, when he made 25 appearances despite a lay-off with an ankle injury. In August 2003, he joined West Ham in an exchange deal plus cash for Fredi KanoutÚ amid a formal complaint made to the FA by Peterborough at the valuation placed on Etherington, who would have benefited from a sell-off clause had it been greater than ú500,000, the price at which Peterborough sold Etherington to Tottenham in 1999. Etherington made 51 appearances for Tottenham, 28 of these as a substitute, scoring two goals.
West Ham United
Etherington joined West Ham at the beginning of their two year spell in the second-tier of English football, playing the final season of the First Division and the first of the Championship. Etherington was a big hit at Upton Park, winning the "Hammer of the Year" award in his first season at the club and he played a huge part in helping the club get to the 2004 Championship play-off final by scoring one of the goals in the play-off semi final second leg of the 2-0 win over Ipswich Town which sent West Ham to the Championship play off final, however, Etherington was seen in tears at the final whistle following a 1-0 defeat to Crystal Palace but his luck soon changed when he set up the goal in the 2005 play-off final against Preston North End with a perfectly timed cross which was scored by Bobby Zamora and sent West Ham back into the Premiership. He has been a regular feature for West Ham throughout their battles for promotion and, now, back in the top flight.
Etherington appeared for the England Under-20 team at the 1999 FIFA World Youth Championship, playing alongside players such as Stuart Taylor, Ashley Cole, Peter Crouch and Andy Johnson. However, the team failed to score a single goal in their three group matches, and finished bottom of their group.
He has been touted as the solution to England's left-sided midfield problem, particularly by manager Alan Pardew, who stated that he "cannot think of too many English players who are ahead of Matty in that wide midfield position". However, he was not selected for England's 2006 World Cup squad; Stewart Downing was Sven-G÷ran Eriksson's left-footed midfielder of choice.
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