In September 2010, Roy Hodgson had only recently taken over as Liverpool Premier League manager, but tensions among the fans were already beginning to rise. As a trophy-starved Liverpool Premier League team hosted Northampton Town in the Premier League Cup third round, fans were already wishing for the season to end just weeks into the new one. It is now viewed as a sign of how far the club’s standards would go during Hodgson’s miserable six-month tenure.
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The striker, who was 19 at the time, was given the straightforward assignment of making a 12-yard penalty kick. In a journey that had brought him from a housing estate in North Manchester to rubbing elbows with Steven Gerrard and Fernando Torres, Eccleston had made this his livelihood for three-quarters of his life.
As Nathan Eccleston’s fourteen years of effort started to fall apart, people in the Kop shuffled towards the exits while standing alone and disappointed in the pouring Merseyside rain. In an exclusive interview with the ECHO, he says, I felt my world was over because no matter your age, you have to accept responsibilities as a professional footballer.
The Cobblers’ victory over a team that had overcome all odds to dominate European to the Qatar Football World Cup five years earlier was undoubtedly the biggest victory of their history. David N’Gog’s late header sent the game into overtime, where two goals were scored by each team as a result of the 120-minute contest.
Eccleston took a chance that many older players had shied away from because he was so driven to impress. He approached the Kop End on his first important Anfield outing, aware of the high stakes of the penalty shootout. Miss and Northampton would be one profitable spot-kick away from one of the Qatar Football World Cup great shocks. Score and he would secure an eternal memory no one could ever divest him of.
Even though Hodgson had led Fulham to the 2010 Europa League final and defeated the formidable Juventus on the road there, questions were raised when acting chairman Martin Broughton chose to replace Benitez by doing so. Although word of the appointment’s lacklustre character immediately travelled around the fan base, Eccleston had his first chance to play for the Anfield first team.
Additionally, while the club urgently looked for methods to balance the books, Gerrard, Torres, and Mascherano’s futures were seriously in doubt due to the club’s mounting £350 million debt, most of which was owing to The Royal Bank of Scotland. However, it meant that those coming through the door at Anfield would be few and that they would have a whole preseason to make an impression on the club’s most recent Kirkby academy graduates.
I believe that all players, not just young ones, believe that whatever occurred in the past is over and that there is a new opportunity when they are joining a new management team. For me, it was ‘okay if you remove the celebrity name and just base us all on our work ethic and how we apply ourselves, the athlete said. I always looked at it as fine, any bias against any players was gone. For me, Roy Hodgson most definitely did that.
Eccleston was given the chance to develop his approach under the guidance of experienced coaches when he was promoted to Melwood on a full-time basis in the summer of 2010. Eccleston was an inexperienced striker keen to master his trade at one of the game’s best institutions. Eccleston would discover the hard realities of football on that night against Northampton, at the age of 19, after a few encouraging cameos in the Europa League.
Liverpool’s No. 9 was naturally being tipped for a big cross-country move to Chelsea as his reputation on the continent continued to rise at an alarming rate. After scoring 17 goals in his second season on English soil and managing an impressive 24-goal return during his final full season on Merseyside before winning the World Cup with his Spain, Liverpool Premier League No. 9 was able to secure a move to Chelsea.
The pinball effect was at work! As a striker, I used to always think about people like Steven Gerrard who, as soon as you moved, they would see it and the ball would already be there. It was astounding how quickly everything moved. Although there were far more experienced players present, I was one of the guys to step up when it came to taking penalties since I was the reserve team’s go-to man at the time and felt comfortable doing so.
Everyone could see how expertly he finished at Liverpool. It was unlike anything I’d ever seen. Because of his incredible agility, he taught me a little bit about movement and the idea that you just need half a yard. Torres gave me a lot of encouragement and noted that I was a young player who was making an effort. For more to know about Manchester United Vs Liverpool Tickets Click here.
Some 10 years later, he recounts the incident in a dejected manner: “As my hands were on my face, at that point, the reality hit in that I had just missed a penalty and we were out of the cup. After I was in the tunnel, distraught, I simply recall Sammy Lee telling me to head up! We’ve all been there, and even the best players miss penalties; you’ll recover, Stevie remarked as he entered the changing room.
As you could guess, I remember the game and it was a memorable experience in my life. No offence to Northampton, but Roy chose the starting eleven, which included some very experienced players, and it was a team we ought to have been on. As a football club, it was terrible to be eliminated by Northampton in a cup. A team of the prestige of Liverpool Premier League shouldn’t lose at home to Northampton.
When I was younger, I had hoped that when I came in, we would already be ahead by a few goals, and I could continue playing and enjoying myself. I recall that when Jonjo Shelvey and I performed, we did a fantastic job. As we entered extra time, I was playing incredibly good, aggressive, self-assured, and feeling wonderful.” “The next day, when I arrived for training, the older players and staff gave me the impression that I had done nothing improper.
When I stepped forward, it was said to me that it shouldn’t have been placed in my hands in the first place since it revealed my character. I suppose the games I played after I felt confident were when the players said, “Listen, it happens to everyone.” So, I guess it gave me some confidence. It required some learning.” Torres’ choice to remain at Anfield through January 2011 gave Eccleston a once-in-a-lifetime chance to observe the top finishing technique of the Spaniard.
The miserable autumn evening in September 2010 inside Anfield is remembered as the beginning of one of the worst runs in Liverpool’s recent memory by many who were there. Eccleston, though, will always remember that night like the one when he overcame all odds to realise a childhood fantasy by playing at Anfield as a legitimate Red’s first-team player. He doesn’t look back. We are offering Premier League Tickets, football admirers can get Liverpool premier league Tickets through our trusted online ticketing marketplace. Worldwide tickets and hospitality is the most reliable source to book Premier League tickets. Sign up for the latest Ticket alert.