Fiery but talented

While trying to establish himself in a competitive Everton side, James McFadden is making himself a folk hero in his Scottish homeland after a series of outstanding international performances, writes Andy Hampson.

James McFadden hails from Glasgow and made his name with the Scottish Premier League club Motherwell after coming through its youth set-up. He made his first-team debut at 17 and was a regular in the side, then coached by Terry Butcher, before the end of the 2000-01 season. He netted 10 times in 25 games in his first full campaign and soon earned international recognition.

The following season catapulted McFadden into the big time as he scored 19 goals from 34 starts and won the Scottish Young Player of the Year award. Bigger clubs started to circle the obvious striking talent and it was Barclays English Premier League’s Everton which secured his services for just GBP1.25million. A hat-trick against Livingston proved his final act for Motherwell.

McFadden’s Everton career has so far been mixed with whole-hearted performances interspersed with considerable time on the bench.

An abundance of strikers at Goodison Park has also seen McFadden, due to his ability on the ball, being asked to deploy his pace and aggression on the wing. Wayne Rooney first blocked his route to the first team, and later the likes of James Beattie, Andy Johnson and Yakubu have stood in his way. Untimely injuries have also hampered his progress but McFadden is never less than fiercely competitive.

He struck up a good partnership with Beattie and netted seven times in 2005-06 and, after recovering from a broken foot, finished last season strongly. McFadden rounded off the season by scoring a spectacular late winner after coming off the bench against Charlton.

McFadden has started 2007-08 in even more determined fashion and though he again faces a battle for a starting place, his stunning international performances have elevated him closer to the top bracket of strikers.

When McFadden first joined Everton his parents moved down to Liverpool to help him settle. His girlfriend Gillian was studying in Glasgow at the time and visited him at weekends. Gillian eventually moved south and the two had a son, James, in June 2006. They married in June 2007.

McFadden earned a reputation for party-going and for being a bit hot-headed early in his career. There was an infamous incident in 2002 when he missed the flight home at the end of Scotland’s tour of the Far East. McFadden, who was then 19 and had made his debut on the trip to South Korea and Hong Kong, overslept and failed to report for the homeward journey after a late night party.

McFadden’s reputation for indiscipline was evident during his final season in Scotland when he accrued 15 yellow cards and one red. It’s something he has not quite managed to shake off due to his fiery nature on the field.

FACTFILE Name: James McFadden Position: Striker Club: Everton D.O.B.: 14/04/1983 Scotland Caps: 35 Scotland Goals: 13 Scotland Debut: v South Africa, May 2002 Moment to remember

McFadden earned hero status in Scotland when he scored the winner in a famous 1-0 victory over Holland in 2003. He topped that with a stunning strike to down France in a Euro 2008 qualifier in Paris in September. McFadden fired home a half-volley from long range in the Stade de France as Scotland secured one of its most famous wins.

Moment to forget

McFadden was at the centre of controversy last November when he was sent off in a Carling Cup tie against Arsenal. He complained to referee Graham Poll after Andy Johnson was not awarded a penalty following an incident in the box. It was later claimed McFadden was dismissed for calling the referee a cheat.

Everton boss David Moyes was furious and took McFadden to a post-match press conference where the pair insisted the word cheat was not used. Moyes also railed at the treatment of Johnson, who, he felt, was gaining an unjustified reputation for diving.

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