Bowyer, Butland and Wood start: Best XI who have represented Leeds and Birmingham
By Will Butcher
Both Premier League regulars in recent top-flight history, Leeds and Birmingham have shared a fair few players over the last two decades.
Although plenty have gone on to Premier League stardom, many have struggled to forge a top-flight career after spells at both Elland Road and St. Andrew’s Stadium.
Leeds will be looking to maintain their promotion assault on the Championship table on Friday night, by securing an eighth away league win of the season against Gianfranco Zola’s Blues.
Ahead of the Championship showdown, here is a team consisting of players to have played for both sides in a 3-5-2 system.
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Birmingham youth product and now fully-fledged England international Jack Butland rose to prominence in the Blues’ side as a youngster, before moving onto Stoke City. Unable to break into the Potters’ side straight away, Butland was loaned to Leeds in 2014.
An experienced, yet slow-looking defence. Current loan star Kyle Bartley has delighted the Elland Road faithful at the back this season, but will come up against his old side on Friday. Scotland international Steven Caldwell made just 13 appearances for Leeds during a loan spell, before spending two years in the Midlands towards the end of his career. Current Blues captain Paul Robinson also played for Yorkshire giants Leeds, but the fiery veteran is known more for his 162 league and cup outings with Birmingham.
Boasting three international midfielders, both sides have shared some top wingers throughout their history. Aggressive ex-England midfielder Lee Bowyer was a flying winger during Leeds’ Champions League days, before becoming a central midfielder with the Blues. He partners another firey character in midfield, in Australia international Neil Kilkenny, who has received a huge 59 yellow cards during his career.
Sitting behind the duo is Cardiff midfielder Tom Adeyemi, who has had spells with both Leeds and Birmingham on loan during his career. Out wide, Premier League winger Andros Townsend is renowned for his spells with a whole host of different clubs as he looked to create a career with Tottenham – two of those clubs being Leeds. On the other flank, nomadic star Jermaine Pennant was a permanent fixture of both clubs’ fight against relegation in the Premier League before going to play for the likes of Liverpool, Stoke City and Real Zaragoza.
Two careers that went very differently. New Zealand international Chris Wood is currently the talk of the town in Yorkshire, as he looks to add to his 23 Leeds goals against Birmingham on Friday night after a 2011-12 loan spell with the Blues. However, it did not work out quite as well for former Chelsea attacker Mikael Forssell, as injury hampered his professional career. Three permanent seasons with Birmingham saw him score just 17 goals in total, before a 17-game spell with Leeds in 2011-12 proved fruitless as he failed to find the net.
Subs: Maik Taylor, Tony Capaldi, Robbie Blake, Gary McSheffrey, Alex Bruce.
In other Leeds news, Pep Clotet has revealed the secret behind Leeds’ solid defence.