Fraizer Campbell– England international, crème of the Manchester United Academy crop and Championship promotion winner. That’s not a bad opening line to any footballer’s curriculum vitae.
The twenty-five year old Huddersfield-born hit-man was scouted by United as a ten year-old, going on to progress through the Old Trafford Academy ranks before signing professional terms with the European heavyweights in spring 2006. The following season he excelled while on loan at Belgian second division club Royal Antwerp, scoring twenty-one times in thirty-three appearances.
On returning to Manchester the following summer, Fraizer set about establishing himself in the English leagues. He made his United debut as a substitute against Manchester City in August 2007, though it was during another loan spell – this time with Championship club Hull City – that the diminutive goal-scorer really began to make his name.
Fraizer helped guide Phil Brown’s Tigers to promotion via the Championship Play-Offs during the 2007-08 season, scoring fifteen goals in thirty-two appearances and becoming the Club’s top-scorer of the campaign. Manchester United understandably wanted him back ahead of the 2008/09 season, rejecting a reported £7million bid from Hull in the process; though with Dimitar Berbatov making his way to Old Trafford on transfer deadline day, Campbell moved on loan in the opposite direction to Tottenham Hotspur where he spent the next year.
It was in 2009 that Fraizer finally decided to leave United in pursuit of regular first-team football, transferring to Premier League Sunderland. He soon set about establishing himself as a key member of the Black Cats squad, though injuries restricted the striker's appearances during his time at the Stadium of Light.
Despite re-emerging as a potent goal threat during the 2011/12 season – and one that England interim boss Stuart Pearce deemed worthy of a first senior England cap against Holland in February 2012 – Fraizer was not considered to be part of Sunderland’s long-term plans under now manager, Martin O’Neill.
But the Mackems’ loss will surely be Malky Mackay’s gain, with Fraizer securing a three and a half year deal at Cardiff City Stadium during this January transfer window. As the striker himself said following the announcement of his signing: "I can't wait to get doing what I love doing - playing football again. I'm here to help us get promoted to the Premier League. It's where everyone wants to display their talent."