Key player

Joleon Lescott's tough tackling and confidence attracted the eyes of many across the continent, and in August 2009 Manchester City manager Mark Hughes took action and brought him to the ambitious club, writes Joe Short.

Joleon Lescott was one of the first players to join the Manchester City revolution and continues to play a key role as they push for the Barclays English Premier League title.

As a resolute defender at Everton, Lescott proved to be a competent and reliable member of a team pushing to secure a regular top-seven finish.

His tough tackling and confidence attracted the eyes of many across the continent, and in August 2009 Manchester City manager Mark Hughes took action and brought him to the ambitious club, with European aspirations of their own.

The GBP22 million move to City came at a time of huge transition for the Eastlands club. With the takeover by the Abu Dhabi United Group, the money began to flow as City spent GBP122 million in the first year.

Lescott's place, which had been secure at Everton, was assumed safe upon his City arrival. He debuted at the end of August in City's 2-0 win over Crystal Palace in the Carling Cup, and scored his first goal for the club a month later.

However, injuries and poor form began to hamper his time at City, and at a club where player turnaround is chillingly decisive, once he lost his place in the back four he had trouble regaining it.

Born in Birmingham, Lescott had no problems with selection early in his career. Since his debut for Wolverhampton Wanderers 11 years ago, he has been first choice wherever he has played.

A serious ruptured knee injury prevented him from taking any part in Wolves' 2003/04 Premier League season, but on his return to match fitness Lescott went straight back into the relegated side, and earned a Player of the Year accolade before transferring to Everton.

He was an immediate success at the Toffees, avoiding injuries and scoring goals. Indeed, 10 goals from a central defender in 54 appearances in 2007/08, which included Everton's UEFA Cup run, offered him the chance to pull on the England shirt for the first time.

His international debut came at Wembley in October 2007, where he entered the field for Rio Ferdinand at half-time, as England won 3-0. Another successful season at Everton gave the intelligent defender his move to City, but it has not all been plain sailing since then. Injuries and competition for places meant Lescott playing only 19 league games in his first season with City.

Three months into his time at City he underwent a knee operation, keeping him out of action for eight weeks, before a hamstring problem kept him out until the final game of the 2009/10 season. His struggle to regain full fitness meant he missed out on Fabio Capello's 30-man provisional squad for the World Cup.

Made to sit and watch the tournament from home, Lescott trained hard in anticipation of the 2010/11 season and his luck changed for the better when Kolo Toure failed a drugs test in March 2011.

That resulted in a six-month ban from the game and Lescott filled the gap to form a solid partnership with Vincent Kompany, helping City to UEFA Champions League qualification. Along with third spot in the EPL came Lescott's first taste of silverware, as he helped City beat Stoke 1-0 in the FA Cup final.

Recent events suggest things are about to get even better for City, with the 6-1 thrashing of Manchester United suggesting the blue half of Manchester are now genuine title contenders.

If Lescott can keep his place in the side, a place at Euro 2012 could go some way to making up for his World Cup disappointment and the defender will be over the blue moon.

At the age of five, Lescott was struck by a car outside his school and suffered life-threatening head injuries and the scar can still be seen today.

Lescott is believed to have a girlfriend but manages to keep her away from the public spotlight. Before moving to City, Lescott owned a £60,000 Mercedes S-Class, with a three-litre diesel engine and top speed of 148mph.

FACTFILE Name: Position: Club: D.O.B: England caps: England goals: England debut: Moment to remember Moment to forget

A nine-game injury absence at the end of the 2009/10 season effectively erased any chance of playing at the 2010 World Cup.

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