As I sit down and look out the window at the rain hitting the fresh cut green grass, I think back to my footballing days and how I loved the rain when I was playing matches. I look back over my youth career with both Stoke City And Crewe, But I knew I wanted to sign for Crewe deep down in my heart it was the right move. At the age of 16 I signed my scholarship forms in 2000 for Crewe.
At a young age I was been labelled as a hot player for the future, at the age of 18 I was playing for England under 21s, after playing for the 16s 17s 18s and 19s all in the space of a year. That year Crewe got promoted back to league one, with me scoring 16 goals. My manager at the time Dario Gradi had a lot of faith in me for such a young player, and I wanted to repay that faith.
The next year we were in division 1 and I was starting a lot more games still as a young player, I managed to get 19 league goals that season. Dario said to me at the end of the season there are a lot of big clubs looking at you, but your contract has 4 years left. He asked me to stay one more season; he said to me that clubs were offering 1 million pounds for me. But he told me I am worth more than that. So I stayed with the club for one more year.
My last season with Crewe I bagged another 19 goals for the club, and again clubs were watching Norwich were a good club back then in the premiership mid table most years. I had other offers but was not offered a starting place, but Norwich did offer me that so I moved there and Norwich broke there transfer record buying me for 3.5 million.
So with my new team, we were all looking forward to the premiership. But it was not to be are year as we went down, and again I was linked with a move back to the premiership. But again I stayed to try and win back promotion to the premiership. That season we did not get back and I scored 22 goals for the club, I felt the time was right to move on West Ham for 7.5 million.
My first season there I scored 14 goals in the premiership, and the fa cup run were we lost in penalties to Liverpool really hurt. Many said I should of been going to the 2006 world cup but I never got the call up, to be honest I was really upset. Later that year I got my one and only England call up were I got a broken ankle and missed the whole of the 2007 season, and that’s when things went downhill.
In 2008-09 season I made only 5 starts scoring 3 goals, and then I did my ankle in again. I tried to get fit but every time I got back to fitness the ankle went again. And after singing a new 5 year deal a few months before On the 11th of December I announced my retirement at the age of 26. In total I made 280 apps and scored 111 goals.
I just miss all the football the challenge, I have my coaching badges and I never used them maybe I need football in my life to be happy. I will start by looking for work doing anything with any team just to recap everything, I hope this works out for me.