Spurs' key player

Scott Parker is considered to be one of England's first-choice midfielders and looks certain to be heading to next summer's European Championship, writes Michael O'Donnell.

All footballers experience highs and lows in their career but Scott Parker has had more than most.

Now a key part of an increasingly impressive Tottenham side, Parker is considered to be one of England's first-choice midfielders and looks certain to be heading to next summer's European Championship. But it has not all been plain sailing for the all-action 31-year-old Londoner.

After rising to footballing prominence as a combative midfielder during Charlton's push for a UEFA Champions League spot in the 2003/04 season, Parker received plaudits for his workmanlike performances and was named the PFA Young Player of the Year in that season.

As a schoolboy, Parker featured in a McDonalds advert juggling a football and was also the subject of a substantial bid from Tottenham. But Parker remained loyal to Charlton, where he made his debut as a 16-year-old after graduating from the Football Association's Centre of Excellence at Lilleshall — which is no longer in operation.

Speaking about his debut at Charlton, Parker said: “I came back from Lilleshall and went straight into the reserves, playing about five games for them and suddenly I was in the first team squad. It was a huge jump.”

After 145 appearances for Charlton, Parker was sold to Chelsea for GBP10 million in January 2004 — halfway through the season in which he won the Young Player of the Year award.

Parker was one of a number of expensive signings by Chelsea following Roman Abramovich's June 2003 takeover of the club. But at Stamford Bridge he struggled to get into the side ahead of Frank Lampard and Claude Makelele, despite scoring his only goal for the club in his second game.

Playing time continued to be limited for Parker at Chelsea as more high profile midfielders were brought in. He then suffered a broken metatarsal during a rare EPL appearance against Norwich. After playing just 15 times for Chelsea, Parker was sold to Newcastle in July 2005 after the club won their first title for 50 years.

At Newcastle, Parker showed his class and was consistently one of the best performers in a side that was heavily criticised under Graeme Souness. He continued to perform well and looked to be on course to be included in England's 2006 World Cup squad. However, that was not to be as Parker was diagnosed with glandular fever just three months before the tournament commenced.

Parker struggled to regain his form while at Newcastle and was reunited with former Charlton manager Alan Curbishley at West Ham. After his first appearance was delayed by injury, Parker only lasted 45 minutes before succumbing to another injury.

Parker showed his class consistently at Upton Park and was voted the Football Writers' Association Footballer of the Year despite playing in a relegated West Ham side in 2010/11.

After playing four games in the nPower Championship, Parker made the move on transfer deadline day to Tottenham, where he has shone in an ever-improving side.

His first two months at the club saw him pick up Player of the Month twice and earned him a regular starting place in the England side, including a man-of-the-match display in a 1-0 win against world and European champions Spain in November.

That performance also attracted significant praise from England manager Fabio Capello, who labelled Parker's display as “incredible”.

After being left at home by Capello for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa, Parker looks to be a certainty to be included in the England squad for next summer's European Championship in Poland and Ukraine.

Parker is married to Carly and has two sons. He drives a Range Rover.

FACTFILE Name: Scott Parker Position: Central midfielder Club: Tottenham D.O.B: 13/10/1980 England caps: 10 England goals: 0 England debut: v Denmark, November 2003 Moment to remember

Man of the Match performance against Spain in England's 1-0 victory in November 2011.

Moment to forget Being relegated with West Ham last season.

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