Wayne Bridge

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Wayne Bridge is an English left back who was born in Southampton on 5th August 1980. Bridge was picked up by Saints in the 1990s after being spotted by Mickey Adams playing for Olivers Battery. He made his senior debut on 16th August 1998 against Liverpool at the Dell, coming on as a substitute for John Beresford, who had suffered a serious knee injury. Bridge was initially used on the left side of midfield, but was quickly converted into a full back. He cemented his place in the starting line up ahead of veteran Francis Benali in 2000, following the arrival of Glenn Hoddle. He scored his first goal for the club on 14th May 2000; a free kick against Wimbledon.

Bridge was an ever present for Saints during 2000/01 and 2001/02. He was one of the clubs best performers during this time. He was named player of the season for 2000/01. Bridge's form earned him a run in the England U21 side. He won his first full international cap on 13th February 2002 against Holland. Bridge was also part of England's 2002 World Cup squad. He played in group games against Argentina and Nigeria. By this time Bridge was one of the most consistent left backs in the country. He was technically sound on the ball, and capable of making good overlapping runs and crosses, but also possessed good defensive skills. Bridge struck up a great on pitch relationship with Chris Marsden during 2002/03. He helped the club to an 8th place finish and FA Cup final appearance that season. Bridge scored his second goal for the club 28th September 2002 in a 1-1 draw at Bolton. He celebrated by recreating Mick Channon's old windmill routine. On January 18th 2003 Bridge was forced off injured in a match at Liverpool, ending a run of 113 consecutive Premier League matches, a record for an outfield player (Which has since been broken by Frank Lampard). Bridge pulled on a Southampton shirt for the final time on 17th May 2003 in the FA Cup final against Arsenal.

On 21st July 2003 Bridge signed for Chelsea for £7,000,000. He was one of the first players to move to Stamford Bridge under the new ownership of Roman Abramovich. Bridge made his Chelsea debut on 13th August 2003 in a Champions League qualifier against Zilina. The former Saints man enjoyed a terrific first season in London, helping the club to runners up spot in the Premier League. Bridge came up against his former club at St Marys on November 22nd 2003, and received a mixed reaction from the home crowd. He won Saints fans over again on 28th December 2003, after scoring in a 3-0 win over Portsmouth. After the goal, Bridge celebrated by goading the Pompey fans, who had showered abuse on the former Southampton man all game. He also netted the winner in the Champions League semi-final second leg at Arsenal on 6th April 2004.

On 5th June 2004 Bridge scored his first international goal in a 6-1 win over Iceland. He made a reasonable start to the 2004/05 season, but soon fell out of favour. New boss Jose Mourinho lost confidence in Bridge and in 2005 replaced him with Asier Del Horno. Even when Del Horno failed to live up to expectation, William Gallas was preferred at left back over Bridge. After making just two cup appearances for the Blues in 2005/06 Bridge was loaned to Fulham in January 2006. He had a fairly successful spell at the Cottage, helping Chris Coleman's side to a comfortable mid-table finish.

Bridge started 2006/07 as Chelsea's first choice left back, until the arrival of Ashley Cole. He still received plenty of opportunities that season however. In November 2006 Bridge signed a new four year contract. He played in both the 2007 League Cup and FA Cup final, ending up on the winning side on both occasions. During 2007/08 Bridge made 22 appearances for Chelsea, mostly in cup competitions.

Bridge was occasionally selected for Chelsea in the first half of the 2008/09 season under Phil Scolari, but joined Manchester City in January. He enjoyed a reasonably decent start at Eastlands, helping the club rise up the table. On 14th October 2009 Bridge made what turned out to be his final International appearance for England against Belarus.

In January 2010 a super injunction imposed by a High Court judge was lifted. The injunction had prevented the media from reporting that John Terry had an affair with Bridge's former girlfriend Vanessa Perroncel. Bridge subsequently retired from international football due to his ill feeling towards Terry. The pair came face to face on 27th February 2010 when Manchester City visited Stamford Bridge. Bridge refused to shake Terry's hand before the game. City ran out 4-2 winners, in an impressive team display. Unfortunately Bridge suffered an injury towards the end of the match, which forced him out of action. He returned on 14th March 2010, but suffered another injury setback after just 33 minutes.

Bridge fell out of favour with Roberto Mancini by the time the 2010/11 season rolled around. He made a handful of appearances for City- mostly in the Europa League, before joining West Ham on loan in January 2011. Bridge had a nightmare debut for the Hammers, and was partially at fault for all 3 goals in a home defeat to Arsenal. The former Saints man would improve, but he was still unable to keep the club in the Premier League.

On 21st September 2011 Bridge made his one and only appearance for Manchester City for 2011/12 in a League Cup clash with Birmingham. In December 2011 he gave an interview with the Independent blasting City boss Roberto Mancini, who had said he did not know what Bridge did on a Saturday. "The remark by Mancini was a dig," said Bridge. "He doesn't know me that well because I don't play golf. On my days off I go for a run, I train harder than he is making out. I do yoga. It hurts because I live for football. I've been a professional since I was 17. I feel I could do a job. When I was at Chelsea I thought I played well even when Ashley Cole was there. I have not been given the chances at City. I'm as good as Kolarov, Clichy and Zabaleta. It's hard to go to training every day I don't feel part of it. Mancini doesn't really speak to me; he doesn't really speak to any of the players. I've never caused problems, I'm not that kind of player. There was a time when I could have gone to Portsmouth on loan, but I had to say no- but my dad's Southampton and I grew up supporting them. Dad would never speak to me again." Bridge also turned down a move to Celtic in the summer of 2011.

In January 2012 Bridge joined Martin O'Neill's Sunderland on loan until the end of the season. He made his debut for the Black Cats on 1st February 2012 as a substitute in a 3-0 win over Norwich. He was in and out of a Sunderland side that finished the season in 13th place.

Bridge joined Brighton on loan for a season on 6th July 2012. He helped the club qualify for the Championship play-offs, but put in a less satisfactory display in the semi-final defeat to Crystal Palace. Bridge enjoyed his joint best ever goal-scoring season, with strikes against Barnsley, Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich

Bridge moved to Reading prior to the 2013/14 season.

Away from football Bridge is married to Frankie Sandford of pop group The Saturdays.