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David Wheater (born 14 February 1987) is an Englishmarker footballer, who plays for Middlesbrough. He is a central defender and sometime right back with a penchant for scoring from set-pieces. He has often been compared to the likes of Gary Pallister and Terry Butcher.

Career

A product of the Middlesbrough youth academy, Wheater was promoted to the first team at age seventeen for the 2004-05 season after tasting success in the FA Youth Cup. He and teammates Andrew Taylor, Matthew Bates and Adam Johnson were part of the team that won the 2004 FA Youth Cup and also played the previous season's final with Bates and Taylor but lost out to Manchester United.

Wheater is a central defender who scored three league goals & one goal in the FA Cup in his breakthrough season of 2007–08.He joined Wolverhampton Wanderers on a three month loan in September 2006. However, he returned to Middlesbrough on 15 November, after making just one first team appearance.He has also had loan spells at Doncaster Rovers and Darlington. During 2007/2008 pre-season Jonathan Woodgate suffered an injury that allowed fellow hometown defender David Wheater to start in his place during pre-season. Wheater's form in pre-season earned him a starting XI place for the opening day Premier League fixture - his form then continued, which triggered the transfer of Woodgate to Tottenham as Wheater became the first name on the 'Boro team sheet. Wheater was named in an understrength Middlesbrough side away to Bristol City in the FA Cup third round, when he saved his team with a goal as he burst forward from the back and scored the winner in a 2–1 at Ashton Gatemarker. Matt Le Tissier was reporting the match on Gillette Soccer Saturday and made the following comment about the goal; "Wheater carried on his run and he came in with a right foot finish - a great finish for a centre back - it was Beckenbauer-esque!" He signed a 3-and-a-half-year contract extension in February 2008 which tied him to Middlesbrough until 2011.

Wheater experienced his best season of football during the 2007/08 season, starting as a regular for Gareth Southgate's side and becoming an imposing force at the back. At the end of the year, he won the North East Football Writers' Association Young Player of the Year and Player of the Year awards for his exploits. Unfortunately Boro were relegated at the end of the 2008-09 season but Wheater decided to stay to help the club regain promotion.

Despite being only 22, Wheater was appointed captain for the 2009-10 season. He experienced his first taste of league captaincy against Bristol City in a 2-1 loss. New manager Gordon Strachan decided to hand the captain's armband to more experienced teammate Gary O'Neill in order to let Wheater concentrate on developing his game.

International career

Wheater has represented England at U16, U17, U18, U19 and most recently England U21's. He played at the 2004 U17 European Championships was a regular in the 2009 U21 European Championship qualifying, mostly as a substitute. In October 2008 he scored the equalizer against Wales in the first leg of the play-offs and England went on to win 3-2 and 5-4 on aggregate to qualify. He was supposed to be in the squad for the tournament but withdrew after sustaining an injury.

On 20 March 2008, Wheater was called up to the England squad by boss Fabio Capello, however he was not included in the Capello's final 23.

On 15 October 2008, Wheater was called up into the England senior team as a replacement for John Terry when the England Captain withdrew due to an injury picked up playing for Chelsea. Wheater's first real taste of senior international football came when he was named as a substitute for the games against France & Trinidad and Tobago in 2008.

Private life

Unlike a great many of his peers, Wheater has led a public life relatively free from tabloid controversy. On April 23, 2009, however, The Sun posted on its website amateur footage of the star performing an original and animated dance routine to Queen's "Don't Stop Me Now", one of his favourite anthems, at a party. The paper described his efforts as in turn "hilarious", "side-splitting" and "clearly [...] well-rehearsed", and an anonymous onlooker was quoted: "Middlesbrough fans love David because he is a real star of the future and is a local lad, but even the biggest Boro fan probably didn't realise he was this good a mover. Centre-halves tend not to be known for their fancy footwork but David is obviously the exception."

References

  1. BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Wolverhampton Wanderers | Wolves snap up Middlesbrough ace
  2. BBC SPORT | Football | My Club | Wolverhampton Wanderers | Wheater returns to Middlesbrough
  3. BBC SPORT | Football | Internationals | Beckham recalled to England squad
  4. Quoted in Perrie and Phillips 2009.


Notes

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