One to Watch - Anthony Pilkington
Name: Anthony Pilkington
Date of Birth: 6/6/1988
Former Clubs: Stockport County, Huddersfield
League Appearances (Goals): 183 (40)
International Appearances (Goals): England
Stat of the Day: Anthony Pilkington scored the 300th goal of the 2011/12 Premier League season
Anthony Pilkington has put the likes of David Nugent, Robert Earnshaw and Michael Chopra to shame. Whilst such flops have managed to take the Championship by storm, they have sensationally failed to replicate their form in the Premier League. 'Pilks`, however, has admirably taken the huge step up from League 1 and already appears to be proving his worth in the top flight. Whilst consistency will, of course, be the deciding factor, the 23-year-old has arguably been Norwich`s player of the season so far.
Pilkington proudly possesses the classic footballer`s hardship tale: Kicked out of a big club at a young age for being 'too small`, disappearing into the footballing wilderness ready to surrender his immense ambitions, before making a sensational return up the leagues to become a hero. The poor lad even had to resort to studying a National Diploma in Football Studies. Now the midfielder is already drawing comparisons with Canaries hero Darren Huckerby after a run of impressive performances and has undoubtedly been at the heart of Norwich`s imposing start to the season. The winger has the ability to terrorise opposition defences at ease and possesses a deadly cross and superb set-piece strikes.
Born in Blackburn, Pilkington spent time with the youth systems of Preston, Blackburn and Manchester United before eventually ending up at North West Counties League side Atherton Colleries. A hat-trick against FC United in 2006 proved the start of his long road to the top as Stockport County quickly swooped to give him his second chance.
He made an instant impact at Edgeley Park netting three times in his first four outings and was a pivotal figure as the team gained promotion via the League Two Play-off Final in 2008, which earned him a cap for the Republic of Ireland`s under-21 side. T0he winger ended up with 17 goals in 80 appearances for The Hatters, before Huddersfield moved to snap him up on a three-and-a-half-year contract in 2009.
A successful 18 month spell at the Galpharm saw the two-footed player make 105 appearances, scoring 25 goals in all competitions for Lee Clark`s side. Pilkington played an integral part in Huddersfield`s season which saw them reach the League One Play-off Final last year, scoring 14 goals in 40 appearances in all competitions for The Terriers, only for injury to keep him from playing a part in the teams` final push for promotion. The 23-year-old signed for Norwich at the beginning of the season for a fee of £2 million, and despite a limited pre-season, the midfielder has taken Carrow Road by storm.