Burnley EX-News: Michael Ricketts
Former England striker Michael Ricketts has been handed a trial at Southampton.
Clarets fans will remember Ricketts from the time he was on loan at the club during Steve Cotterill's second season.
Ricketts had already had spells at six other clubs before coming to Turf Moor on loan in January 2006.
His first club was Walsall where he managed a strike rate of 1 goal in 6 games. This was enough for Bolton to sign him for £0.5 million in June 2000. His one and only England cap came against Holland in 2002
He famously fell out with Sam Allardyce whilst at Bolton and left the club in 2003 claiming that he wanted to play for a 'big club'. Up stepped that really big club, Middlesbrough(Cough!)to sign him for £3,500,000. 38 games later and only four goals to show for it, Leeds United were the next suckers to give him a go and he signed for them on a free. However the goals continued to dry up both for Leeds and for the two clubs he was loaned to whilst at Elland Road (Stoke & Cardiff)
Next stop, Turf Moor and the omens didnt look good.
We had just been forced to sell Ade Akinbiyi to Sheffield United in the January Window of 2006. It was a torrid time for the Clarets and morale seemed to be low in the team and the manager also didn't seem to be a happy bunny. It was under these circumstances, that Ricketts was brought in as a replacement for Akinbiyi. Was this a panic signing with the transfer deadline coming to an end?
He came on loan from Leeds United, signing on the 30th January 2006. Two goals in his first three games began to make Clarets fans wonder, if finally Ricketts was about to show the doubters what he could do.
Ricketts was however to make just 13 appearances for the club, and looked a shadow of his former self as the Clarets plummeted down the table with Ricketts often looking woeful in attack and being blamed for our lack of points. He in fact scored just those two goals and at the end of the season returned to Leeds United.
The well-travelled striker was signed by Southend but he put on loads of weight and looked to be unfit. He was released and then given another chance to resurrect his career at Preston North End but he lasted just three months at the club before being released yet again. Next stop, Oldham signing a three-year deal in July 2007 and having the same contract cancelled in January 2008 after a short spell on loan to his former club, Walsall.Ricketts was therefore now a free agent and looking yet again to quote 'kickstart his career' at the ripe old age of 29.
'It never hurts to have a look at players and with his record he's worth it,' said Saints boss Nigel Pearson.
Well thats probably Pearson's street cred ruined!