Bothroyd back on track

AP

With on-loan Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy playing alongside him at Cardiff and his confidence high following his shock England call-up, Jay Bothroyd could be back in the EPL sooner rather than later with a point to prove.

A player from the second tier of English football representing England at senior international level is virtually unheard of, but Jay Bothroyd followed in the footsteps of the likes of David Nugent this month after an impressive start to the season for Cardiff.

Bothroyd finally seems to have found a place to call home after spells with seven clubs following his departure from Arsenal under a cloud in 2000. The striker, who was 18 at the time, reacted angrily to being substituted in an academy game and threw his shirt at the Arsenal bench. That act of youthful petulance paved the way for Bothroyd to leave Highbury in 2000.

Ten years on and the incident still remains on the 28-year-old's mind.

“It was a moment of madness, I disrespected Don Howe and it was one of the biggest mistakes of my life,” he said. “At that age, you don't appreciate what you've got and how lucky you are. You take it for granted. Now I realise how cocky I was.”

With his name tarnished, Coventry came to the rescue of the London-born striker and parted with GBP1million for his services despite Bothroyd never making a senior appearance for Arsenal. Bothroyd struggled in his first season at Highfield Road and made eight appearances as the club suffered relegation from the English Premier League.

It was in the Championship where Bothroyd showed his true potential as he scored 11 goals in the 2002/03 campaign. Despite finishing the season as top scorer for the Sky Blues, Bothroyd was deemed surplus to requirements and made a shock move to Italian Serie A side Perugia. Bothroyd's spell abroad, though, did not go according to plan and he soon found himself back in England at Blackburn.

During his time in Italy, the striker was subjected to racist abuse from fans and was also described as “half a player” by his coach after refusing to dive in the penalty box when tackled. Bothroyd's time at Ewood Park was unspectacular to say the least and Blackburn passed at the chance to make his signing permanent after scoring once in 13 appearances in all competitions.

Following his release by Perugia at the end of the 2004/05 season, Bothroyd found himself back in his native London as Charlton came calling. Bothroyd spent one season with the Addicks, scoring five goals in 25 games. Bothroyd was not a free agent for long as Mick McCarthy snapped him up in July 2006 on a three-year deal and he instantly repaid the Wolves manager's faith in him with three goals in his first four games.

Bothroyd went on to score nine goals in his debut season for Wolves — including the winner against bitter rivals West Brom — but he would soon be on the move again one year later as he spent an unsuccessful loan spell at Stoke. Cardiff paid a reported GBP300,000 for the forward in August 2008 and the switch to south Wales has revitalised his career.

A 13-goal haul last season helped the Bluebirds push for promotion to the Premier League before it ended in Wembley heartache as Bothroyd limped off injured after just 15 minutes in the 3-2 play-off final defeat to Blackpool.

That setback has served to spur Bothroyd and Cardiff on further and he has already netted 15 times this season as Dave Jones' side again compete at the top of the Championship. Bothroyd's form has not gone unnoticed and earlier this month Fabio Capello selected him for England's friendly against France at Wembley, when he came off the bench to make his senior debut.

With on-loan Manchester City striker Craig Bellamy playing alongside him at Cardiff and his confidence high following his shock England call-up, Bothroyd could be back in the EPL sooner rather than later with a point to prove.

Bothroyd is married to Italian wife Stella. A black Range Rover Sport, complete with personalised number plate, is among Bothroyd's car collection.

FACTFILE Name: Jay Bothroyd Club: Cardiff D.O.B: 05/05/1982 England caps: 1 England goals: 0 England debut: v France, November 2010

Moment to remember: A 17-minute cameo appearance during England's 2-1 friendly defeat against France at Wembley earlier this month could do wonders for Bothroyd's belief.

Moment to forget: The 2010 play-off final was a bittersweet experience for Bothroyd, who played a major part in getting Cardiff to within 90 minutes of a place in the Premier League. It ultimately ended in disappointment for Bothroyd and the Bluebirds.

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