Player Profile: Lucas Neill
Full Name: Lucas Edward Neill
Date of Birth: 9th March 1978, Sydney
Squad Number: 2
Internationals: Capped at Full level for Australia
Signed: September 2001
Previous Clubs: Millwall
Had Lucas Neill's father not immigrated to Australia from Northern Ireland in the 1970's Neill may well have ended up representing one of the home nations?
Having started out his footballing career in Australia playing at the Australian Institute of Sport with it always an ambition of Neill's to play in England he got his chance with a move to Millwall in 1995.
His tough tackling and versatility during his time at the Den made him a target for Blackburn Rovers and he signed for the club in 2001 for £1 million. Money well spent and a bargain when you look back over his Rovers career.
A defender who is not afraid to get stuck in sometimes to his and the clubs cost, but this is what makes him such a popular player. Such an instance of the controversy that has surrounded Neill in the past was his horrendous challenge on Liverpool's Jamie Carragher in the 2003-2004 season when he broke the England defenders leg. A war of words then followed between the then managers Graeme Souness and Gerard Houllier as no formal apology was to be issued by either Souness or Neill.
He first gained International recognition with Australia in 1996 and has since gone on to win 50 caps, gaining his 50th in the friendly with Paraguay in October 2006 as national captain. He had a fine 2006 World Cup looking particularly at home for Australia in the in a central defensive role these displays attracting interest from Spanish giants Barcelona and some of Italy's finest. A move to Liverpool on summer deadline day of the 2006-2007 season failed to happen as a fee couldn't be agreed.
His Ewood Park career may well be coming to an end be it in January or as late as next summer but his importance can not be understated. He has been a key member of the team who can and has played anywhere across the back four, his versatility also allows him to play in midfield. The 2006-2007 season has seen him mainly utilised in yet another different role as left-back, meaning he has quite literally played right along the backline of defence.
With Andy Todd out of favour and seemingly heading out of Ewood Park and Ryan Nelsen out injured Neill has stood in filling in as Rovers' captain.
Blackburn Rovers appearances and goals up to the start of the 2006-2007 Season
League: 174 (4 as sub) - 5 goals
FA Cup: 17 - 1 goal
League Cup: 11 - 1 goal
Other (European): 5
TOTAL: 207 - 7 goals
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