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Leon Best

Leon Julian Brendan Best (born 19 September 1986) is an Republic of Ireland national football team Association football who plays as a Forward (association football) for Premier League team Newcastle United F.C. and the Republic of Ireland national football team. Best represented Ireland at Republic of Ireland under-21 national football team and won Leon Best first full international cap against Nigeria national football team on 29 May 2009.

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Leon Best biography


Leon Julian Brendan Best (born 19 September 1986) is an Republic of Ireland national football team Association football who plays as a Forward (association football) for Premier League team Newcastle United F.C. and the Republic of Ireland national football team. Best represented Ireland at Republic of Ireland under-21 national football team and won Leon Best first full international cap against Nigeria national football team on 29 May 2009.

Best had a youth career at Notts County F.C.. Leon Best first professional club was then Premier League club Southampton F.C.. Leon Best has also played for Coventry City F.C.. Leon Best moved to Newcastle in 2010.

Club career

Southampton

As a young player, Best started Leon Best career at Notts County F.C. before being signed as a trainee by then Premier League club Southampton F.C.. Leon Best made Leon Best professional debut against Newcastle United F.C. on Leon Best 18th birthday in 2004. A loan spell at Queens Park Rangers F.C. followed later in the 2004–05 in English football season.

Leon Best was a member of Southampton's youth team that reached the final of the FA Youth Cup Final Squads 2004/05: Ipswich Town v. Southampton (1-0, 2-2), losing on aggregate to Ipswich Town F.C..

Best also had two loan spells at Sheffield Wednesday F.C. in the 2005-06 in English football season, scoring Leon Best first professional goal and Wednesday's first of the season on 9 August 2005 at Hillsborough Stadium against Hull City A.F.C.. The first loan spell was cut short in the same match when Best broke Leon Best foot and returned to St Mary's Stadium after only 5 days in Sheffield. After recovering with Southampton, Best then returned to Hillsborough at the end of the January transfer window (though there was also speculation Leon Best would go to Crystal Palace F.C.) where Leon Best remained until the end of the season, scoring Wednesday's last goal of the season at Derby County F.C. on 30 April 2006.

On 3 August 2006 Best joined Football League One club A.F.C. Bournemouth on a month-long loan deal with an option to extend Leon Best stay. Leon Best returned to Southampton at the end of October at the end of the maximum 3 month loan spell, having made 15 league appearances, scoring 3 goals.

On 23 November 2006, Leon Best joined Leon Best team-mate Martin Cranie on loan to Yeovil Town F.C. until 22 February 2007.

After Leon Best successful loan spells, Best returned to play an important role in guiding Southampton to the Coca-Cola Championship Football League Play-Offs, where the Saints faced Derby County F.C.. Leon Best came on as a substitute in the first leg at St Marys, but could not prevent Southampton losing 2–1, with Derby striker Steve Howard scoring both of the goals for the away side.

In the deciding second leg, with a visit to the new Wembley Stadium awaiting the winners, Best started for Saints up front alongside prolific on-loan striker Marek Saganowski, and played a vital role in many of the attacks that Southampton delivered in their search for goals. In one move, Best showed superb ball control and vision to release Jhon Viáfara, who scored the goal that made the score on the night 2–1 to Southampton (3–3 on aggregate, and Viafara's second goal of the night). However, an unfortunate own goal from Best himself put Derby back in front, and although Southampton sent the game into extra time with a late goal from Poles and former Derby striker Grzegorz Rasiak, Southampton lost 4–3 in a Penalty shootout (association football), with Best missing the opening penalty, sending the ball wide of the goalkeeper Stephen Bywater's left post.

Coventry City

On 5 July 2007, Leon Best joined Coventry City F.C. for a fee of £650,000 decided by a tribunal, with the fee increasing were Coventry to gain promotion to the Premiership by 2010. Following a cheekbone fracture at the end of 2008, Best took Leon Best place in the team wearing a protective mask. Leon Best return led Leon Best scoring three goals in successive matches and consequently gaining a reputation for wearing a "Besty" mask, even after Leon Best had recovered from Leon Best injury and earning the nickname "Zorro". Leon Best distinctive mask became somewhat of a talisman for Coventry City fans, many of whom took to wearing similar masks in the stands as a tribute to Best. On 3 October 2009 Leon Best was named Coca-Cola Championship Player of the Month for September.

Newcastle United

Leon Best signed for Newcastle United F.C. on 1 February 2010 for an undisclosed fee on a three and a half year contract. Best made Leon Best debut against Cardiff City F.C. at St James' Park on 5 February 2010. Best failed to make an impact in Leon Best first season at Newcastle as Leon Best failed to find a goal and was put behind on form strike duo Andy Carroll and Peter Løvenkrands.

Best netted Leon Best first goal for Newcastle in a pre-season friendly against Carlisle United F.C. on 17 July 2010, followed by Leon Best second goal for the club in the pre-season Sir Bobby Robson tribute match against PSV Eindhoven on 31 July 2010. However Best then received a cruciate injury during pre-season causing Leon Best to miss the first few months of the 2010–11 season.

Leon Best was back in light training by the end of September and was on the bench for Newcastle's 1–1 draw with Chelsea F.C. on 28 November, but did not make an appearance. Leon Best made Leon Best comeback in Newcastle's 1–0 victory against Wigan Athletic F.C. on 2 January 2011, appearing as a late substitute for Shola Ameobi. Best made Leon Best first Premier League start for Newcastle in a home 5–0 win against West Ham United F.C. on 5 January 2011, scoring a hat-trick in the process, Leon Best first league goals for the club. Leon Best was injured prior to the Stoke away game on 19 March and was ruled out until the end of the season. However, Best had amassed a very impressive 6 goals in 10 starts and was touted by manager Alan Pardew as the next Newcastle forward to wear the famed No.9 shirt.

On 28 August 2011, Leon Best scored two goals against Fulham F.C. to give Newcastle a 2–1 victory followed by the equalizer in the 1–1 draw with Aston Villa F.C., extending the Magpies unbeaten run to eight games in the Premier League.

Best ended a run of 12 games without a goal by scoring the winner in Newcastle's 1-0 win over Queens Park Rangers through Leon Best mother, who is from Bluebell, Dublin. Leon Best also lived in Dublin from the age of seven for a number of years as a child, playing for Lourdes Celtic before returning to Nottingham.

Having already represented the Republic of Ireland firstly at under-17 level in 2002 and later at under-21 level in May 2009, Best was called up to the Republic of Ireland national football team senior squad for the first time for the games against Nigeria national football team and then the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Bulgaria national football team. Leon Best made Leon Best debut on the 29 May against Nigeria in a match that finished in a 1–1 draw.

Reference: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leon_Best

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