By Jemma Tappenden
July 19 2008
Born in Cumbria on 3rd September 1985, 22 year old Scott Carson became Tony Mowbray's seventh summer signing yesterday as the Baggies eagerly await the start of their first season back in the Premiership. Even at such a young age, the goal keeper has enjoyed regular football in England's top flight, and has even represented his country at international level.
Carson began his career at his local amateur side Cleator Moor Celtic, where in 2000 he caught the eye of John Seasman, academy director at Leeds United. Leeds continued to track the keepers progress, despite him living outside their normal academy catchment area.
In the meantime, Carson trialled for Newscastle United. The Magpies turned down the option to sign the young keeper to their academy, and so in 2000 Carson appeared for Leeds in a schoolboy tournament in Dublin. He was not snapped up by the Leeds academy however until 2002, having impressed further in the FA Youth Cup whilst appearing for Workington Reds.
Carson's Leeds career started with a bang in 2004, making his debut first team appearance after Paul Robinson was sent off against Middlesborough, having spent just a year in the academy and a further 6 months in the reserves.
After impressing in his substitute appearance two weeks later he made his full debut for Leeds in a 1-1 at Old Trafford against Manchester United. Carson nearly made a full break through into the first team as team mate Paul Robinson left Elland Road to sign for Tottenham Hotspur, but the signing of Neil Sullivan limited his chances.
In January 2005 Rafael Benitez made Scott Carson his first signing at Liverpool on a four and a half year deal. Aged just 19 he made his debut for Liverpool In a defeat to Newcastle United, and also made his first Champions League appearance in a victory over Juventus.
In a bid to get more regular first team action, Carson joined Sheffield Wednesday on loan in March 2006, where he helped the Sheffield side avoid relegation. He extended his Liverpool contract by two years at the end of that season - enough to keep him with the Premiership side until 2011.
For the 2006/07 season Carson joined Charlton Athletic on loan. He quickly gained the number one spot for the Addicks, and his impressive performances pushed him infront of both Robert Green and Chris Kirkland in the England pecking order. Charlton fans named him their player of the season that year.
During August 2007 he signed for Aston Villa on a one season length loan, a move which cost the Midlands side £2 million. But it was his action in the England set up which would grab the headlines in the opening months of that season.
In November 2007, having already enjoyed some success with the England Under-21s and England B team, Carson made his full international debut against Croatia. It was the most significant time of his international career to date, having already been listed as a reserve keeper in England's 2006 World Cup provisional squad.
However, Carson conceded three goals hat evening against Austria, and England were eliminated from taking part in Euro 2008. Whilst hounded by the press for particularly the first goal, most of the blame was pointed at Steve McLaren, who was heavily criticised for using such an inexperienced goal keeper in such a crucial match. Amongst other issues, Steve McLaren was subsequently dismissed as England manager.
Unfazed by press surrounding the international incident, Aston Villa continued to place their faith in the 22 year old. At the end of last season the Birmingham club tried to sign Carson permanently, but the deal disintegrated as the asking price for Carson hit sky high proportions as Liverpool and Villa entered a tug of war for Gareth Barry.
On July 18th 2008 West Bromwich Albion won the race to sign Carson, paying Liverpool an initial fee of £3.25 million.