MATTHEW ETHERINGTON has been a key figure in establishing Stoke City in the Barclays Premier League over the past four seasons... and that has only enhanced his reputation as one of the best naturally left-footed wingers in the English game.
The former Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham player has featured prominently in the progress in the top-flight and can be considered unlucky not to have added further international recognition to his three England Under-21 caps.
It was Etherington’s arrival from the Hammers in a £2 million deal midway through the Potters’ first season in the Premier League which played a major part in them climbing out of the relegation zone to a respectable twelfth place in the table.
His performances in a City shirt helped the Club to reach a first-ever FA Cup Final and qualify for Europe for only the third time in their history, while at the peak of his form he was being touted for a call-up into the England squad.
After starting his career with Peterborough United where he made his debut at the age of 15 years and 262 days, he joined Tottenham in a double deal that valued him at £500,000 as Simon Davies also made the same move to White Hart Lane.
It was, however, when Etherington crossed London to West Ham that his career really took off as he spent six years at the Upton Park club.
During that time, he was named the Hammer of the Year in his first season, helped them to reach two successive Championship Play Off Finals, set up the winner in the second of those finals against Preston North End and was then a key figure in the side that reached the 2006 FA Cup Final where they lost to Liverpool in dramatic fashion.