Whatever Happened to James Beattie? (Who Are Ya?)
WHO ARE YA?’ is a new weekly feature on EPL Talk that profiles players who have been capped for England and fallen from grace and players who never really reached their full potential. If you’ve got any ideas for players for me to do in the future just mention them in the comments.
His career transfer fees amount to £14.5 million and he has been the player that has broken two teams transfer fees but WHO ARE YA?
Well it is James Beattie.
His scoring record speaks for itself but James Beattie never really reached his full potential at the highest level even after being capped for England 5 times.
Background: Starting his career at Blackburn Rovers in 1995 he moved to Southampton in July 1998. In the 2000/2001 he had a run of scoring 10 goals in 10 games and then he scored 14 goals the next season, admittedly one in which he was injured for two months. Beattie finished 3rd in the Premier League scoring charts in 2003 but was also the top English goal scorer in the Premier League that season. Southampton were beaten in the FA Cup final of 2003 after a narrow 1-0 loss to Arsenal when Robert Pires scored the only goal of the game at the Millennium Stadium.
In that same year of 2003 Beattie earned his first of five England caps under the ever experimental Sven Goran-Eriksson in the 3-1 loss to Australia at Upton Park, which incidentally was the same game that Wayne Rooney made his debut. Unfortunately for Beattie though his career did not follow a similar path to Rooney’s.
Where it all went wrong: He played his last ever game for England in November 2003 and was not selected for the Euro 2004 squad. At the time I liked Beattie and the way he mixed his physical strength with the way he could finish chances and was actually a little surprised with him not being included as a different option for the Euro 2004 squad. Beattie was obviously disappointed with not being included for the Euros and I even heard a story that at a summer football camp the then Southampton striker was a special guest but the children were not allowed to ask him about why he wasn’t playing for England at the Euro Championships.
2005 saw a move that you would have expected to help Beattie’s footballing career when he moved to Everton for their then club record fee of £6.5 million. At the time David Moyes said that “His record stands up with all the striker in the Premiership,” and former Everton striker Graeme Sharp even said that “He’s a real signing for the future of Everton.” Clearly he was very highly thought of at the time and he was starting to reach his potential top years as a player being 26 when he was signed by Everton. However as you can probably tell he never made the desired impact at Everton despite everyone’s high hopes and never really recovered. He scored 13 goals in 76 games but fell out of favour with Moyes and scored only twice in his third and final season at Everton. With a mix of injuries and poor performances Beattie just couldn’t settle in at Everton and just never reached the potential that Moyes and Everton saw in him when they signed him.
Sheffield United splashed out a record £4.5 million for the centre forward in 2007 and he did have an incredible record of scoring 34 goals in 64 games for the Blades but at Championship level. He was still performing but not at the highest level and definitely not at the level that was expected of him in 2004 and 2005 but he got another chance at the Premier League at Stoke scoring 9 goals from January 2009 to mid-2010 but his appearances were limited because of a dressing room bust-up with Tony Pulis.
He was shipped off to Rangers in the SPL but his time there was again blighted by injuries and just not being able to get a string of games together to get some form before joining Blackpool on loan last season but he again failed to score in the 9 games he played.
This season he trained with Bournemouth just to get his fitness in shape after Rangers cancelled his contract in May this year. He has just been given a lifeline by Sheffield United in League One and will hope to rekindle some of his old form.
So, James Beattie was once thought to be the future of Everton and the next big striker in the Premier League and for England but lack and form and injury problems meant he never lived up to his full potential.
Coming up soon… Jonathan Stead and Francis Jeffers.