A quiz question that will be asked a lot was who was the first England player to play in six consecutive international tournaments? And that man is Sol Campbell.
The 40 year old was a phenomenal centre back and represented England at the 1996, 2000 and 2004 European Championships as well as the 1998, 2002 and 2006 World Cups. Campbell also had an intriguing club career that led to him winning many trophies but also being involved in some strange situations, including being branded a Judas.
Campbell started his career as a striker at Tottenham Hotspur and made his debut as a substitute against Chelsea in December 1992, going on to score in the game. Over the course of the next two years he played in many different positions before eventually becoming a centre half. His greatest moment in a Spurs shirt was lifting the League Cup as captain during the 1998-99 season.
With his contract coming to an end in 2001, the club were desperate to keep him, offering him a fantastic contract. However he decided to move on after wanting to play Champions League football and remain a key part of the England squad. He signed for Arsenal which caused a lot of anger among Spurs fans. They would never forgive him for moving to their biggest rivals on a free transfer. His move to Arsenal proved to be the right decision as in his first season he won the Premier League and FA Cup.
The 2003-04 season will always be remembered for ‘The Invincibles’ and the defender was a massive part of this achievement, forming a brilliant partnership with Kolo Toure. The 2005-06 season took a turn for the worse during a 3-2 defeat against West Ham. He had been at fault for the first two goals and requested to be substituted and didn’t return to the club for several days and did not play again for 10 weeks.
When he returned his performances were back to their usual high standards and was rewarded with a start in the Champions League final against Barcelona. In this final Campbell became one of just six Englishmen to have scored in a final, however it would be in a losing effort.
On the 8th July 2006 he announced he was leaving Arsenal and moved to Portsmouth. His time at the club started very well as him and Linvoy Primus formed a solid partnership and helped the team keep five consecutive clean sheets. At the start of the 2007-08 season he was named captain and led the team to an FA Cup final victory over Cardiff City.
Then he made another surprising move when he joined League Two Notts County. Campbell made his debut against Morecambe in a 2-1 defeat and this turned out to be his only appearance as his five year contract was cancelled by mutual consent.
As he could not join another club until January so he started training with Arsenal and rejoined them on the 15th January 2010. In his second spell he played a lot more than expected because of injuries and was very consistent but he left at the end of the season. On the 28th July 2010 he signed for Newcastle United. His time at the club was not very successful and after just seven league appearances he was released at the end of the season.
The final word can go to Arsene Wenger after re-signing him. “He brings experience, good advice, and physically he has worked hard. He has a fantastic attitude and good fitness. He can still play in the Premier League, I’ve said that many times. He is important in the dressing room as well.”