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Neil Martin Kilkenny (born 19 December 1985) is an English-born Australia football player who plays for Leeds United and the Australian National Side after being capped by Guus Hiddink. He is a midfielder. He is renowned for his passing ability.

Early life

Born in Enfieldmarker, Middlesexmarker, Kilkenny moved to Australia with his family at a young age and grew up in Brisbanemarker.

Club career

Birmingham City

Kilkenny started his career as a youth player at Arsenal before leaving for Birmingham City in January 2004. Unable to break into the first team at Birmingham, he was loaned to League One Oldham Athletic on 18 November 2004 to gain first-team experience. He made a successful start to his spell at Oldham, bagging a brace of goals in his second game, an away fixture at Bradford City. He played a full part in Oldham's season, taking the free kick which led to the winning goal against Premier League Manchester City in the FA Cup, and ending up by winning the club's Players' Young Player of the Year award.

At the start of the 2005–06 season he re-joined the Birmingham first team squad. On 20 September 2005, he made his Birmingham first-team debut in the League Cup away at Scunthorpe United, coming on as a substitute in the 26th minute to replace Muzzy Izzet and receiving praise from manager Steve Bruce for his display.

Only four days later, on 24 September 2005, he made his full home debut against Liverpool in the Premier League. He was sent off in the 83rd minute for handling the ball on the line, an incident which handed Liverpool a penalty and a 2–2 draw. Apart from the disappointment of his dismissal, he went on to receive credit from fellow team mates Mikael Forssell and Mario Melchiot for his performance.

On 30 July 2007 he was again loaned to Oldham, the loan period to run at least until 1 January 2008,but the move was blocked following the collapse of Birmingham's purchase of Hossam Ghaly.However the loan was finally confirmed on 11 August 2007.

When Kilkenny's loan at Oldham expired, he returned to Birmingham City. Kilkennys last match for Oldham was ironically at Elland Road against Leeds in a 3-1 Victory for Oldham in which Kilkenny got the man of the match award.

Leeds United

On 4 January 2008 Kilkenny signed for Leeds United on an emergency loan, with a view to ensuring his availability for the next day's game prior to completing a permanent transfer the following week. He made his debut in the 3–0 win over Northampton Town, putting in an impressive performance to get the man of the match award. Kilkenny signed a three-and-a-half year permanent contract with Leeds on 7 January 2008 for a fee of £150,000. He scored his first goal for the club in their 2-0 win against A.F.C. Bournemouth, in March 2008. After a period on the outer, Kilkenny has regained a spot in the Leeds midfield late in the 2008-2009 season.

His 43rd minute goal against Yeovil on 10 Mar 2009 was a leading contender for the goal of the season. He then followed up with goals in the 3-2 win against Crewe Alexandramarker and the 3-1 win against Tranmere. Kilkenny was part of the Leeds United team who were knocked out of the playoff semi finals, with him being injured and having to be substituted in the second leg Vs Millwall at Elland Road.

After missing the entire pre season of 2009-10 Kilkenny has found himself trying to regain fitness and a place on the bench for Leeds United. With 7 subs required for the 2009-10 season Kilkenny has found himself used mainly as a substitute in games, coming on in games to try make an impact.

Kilkenny started his first league game of the season in the top of the table 0-0 draw against Charlton Athletic, he also started the next game in the JPT win against Darlington. Kilkenny scored his first goal of the season for Leeds in the 3-1 win against Grimsby, the goal rounded off a fine passing move and a one two with Jermaine Beckford, before calmly stroking the ball into the bottom right corner. Kilkenny also received the man of the match award in the same game. Kilkenny scored in the game against Brighton & Hove Albion making it 2 goals in two games. He also provided an assist for Jermaine Beckford and got his second man of the match award in a row. Kilkenny scored his third goal of the season against his former club Oldham Athletic the goal was assisted by Max Gradel and it was Kilkenny's 3rd goal in his last 5 games.

International career

Kilkenny was born in England but having moved to Australia at a young age,where he grew up, he was eligible to play internationally for Australia, England and Ireland. Shortly before the 2006 FIFA World Cup he committed to play for Australia. He was among a group of young players, selected by manager Guus Hiddink, who trained with the Australian squad in Hollandmarker and Germany prior to the tournament. Kilkenny made his international debut for Australia on 7 June 2006, coming on as a late substitute in their 3–1 victory in a World Cup warm-up game against Liechtenstein in Ulmmarker, Germany.

In 2007 he was a part of the Australian Olyroos for the 2008 Beijing Olympics qualifying campaign.In June 2008 he was one of 33 players called up for a pre-Olympic training camp prior to selection of the final 18-man squad.. He was included in the final 18-man squad and did manage to play one game in the olympics for Australia, who were knocked out in the group stages.


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