Scott Matthew Parker (born October 13, 1980) is an English football player and the current captain of Newcastle United. He is a midfielder, who has represented England at every level; from under-15 to senior, for whom he has made one start and two substitute appearances. As a 13 year old Parker appeared in a well known British advert for McDonald's, in which he played keepie uppie.
Scott Parker was born in Lambeth, London and attended Haberdashers' Aske's Hatcham College in New Cross Gate. He is a graduate of the FA's, now defunct, national school of excellence at Lilleshall. After graduating he signed for Charlton Athletic and made his debut as a substitute against Bury in the first division on August 23, 1997, a game which ended 0-0. He signed his first professional contract with the club two months later. Over the next couple of years he made only a few sporadic substitute appearances for Charlton, although he was one of the brightest prospects in English football.
In October 2000 Charlton, now in the Premier League, loaned Parker to First Division side Norwich City F.C. for two months to give the England under-21 some first team experience. On his return to The Valley Parker was immediately called into the first team to replace injured captain Mark Kinsella. Parker played so well for Charlton that, upon his return from injury, Kinsella could not regain his place in the starting lineup.
Parker soon became the linchpin of Charlton's midfield, combining tenacious tackling with an ability to carry the ball quickly from defence to attack and play telling passes, creating many chances for his teammates. It was not long before England manager Sven-Göran Eriksson gave Parker his international debut. This came on November 16, 2003 against Denmark as a substitute, England lost the game 3-2.
Parker, who had been consistently linked with moves away from Charlton for several years, finally left the Valley on January 30, 2004 to join Chelsea for a fee of Ł10m, after a protracted and acrimonious transfer saga in which Parker is rumoured to have refused to train for Charlton. Parker was initially signed as cover for Claude Makélélé and Frank Lampard, but played most of his games for Chelsea as a winger. He scored his only goal for Chelsea against Portsmouth at Fratton Park. Within just two months of signing for Chelsea, he made another substitute appearance for England on March 31, 2004, this time against Sweden. At the end of the 2004 season Parker was named as the PFA Young Player of the Year.
Following the summer signings of Arjen Robben, and Tiago, Parker's first team opportunities were extremely limited during the 2004-05 season. His problems were compounded when, on December 18, he broke a metatarsal bone in a game against his former club, Norwich City. This injury, coupled with the signing of Jiří Jarošík, served to add to the rumours that he would be sold by José Mourinho in the summer.
Parker was indeed sold the following summer, moving to Newcastle United on June 15, 2005 for a fee of Ł6.5m. A move to Everton had stalled previously due to wage demands and he reportedly refused the chance to join Tottenham Hotspur. Still, he did end his association with Chelsea with a Premiership champion's medal and a League Cup winner's medal.
Since joining Newcastle, Parker has once again become a first-team regular in the Premiership. He has been one of the few players at the club to have shown any consistency during an often difficult season; Newcastle finished in 7th place, despite having a very poor start under Souness.
In March 2006 he was diagnosed with glandular fever, putting an end to his season. Indeed, it turned out that Parker had played two games with the condition, showing his incredible drive and durability once again. The timing was especially unfortunate for Parker, who had been playing well for Newcastle, as it ended any hopes he may have had of forcing his way into the England squad for the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
On 14 July 2006 he was named Newcastle United's new captain by manager Glenn Roeder. His first goal as captain came against Fulham on 9 September 2006. Ironically, it was when he was taken off, that Newcastle conceded 2 goals and subsequently lost the game. Despite Newcastle's poor form, he has excelled in this role and his impressive performances earned him a recall to the England squad on September 29, after an absence of more than two years, and a place in the starting line-up for England's European Championships qualifier away to Croatia on October 11, 2006. On 7 November Parker made a lung bursting run to score a goal in the 116th minute against Watford in the Carling Cup. He then scored in the penalty shoot-out, to allow Newcastle to progress in the competition where they will face Parker's old club Chelsea.
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