PNE sign former England international Chris Kirkland

11852935_10153262318874335_888497850_oBy Jack Wynne – Online Sports Editor

The ex-Liverpool keeper has signed a one-year contract with Preston North End, after rejecting a new deal with Sheffield Wednesday.

The 34-year-old, Chris Kirkland had his first taste of the top flight, starting out at Coventry City over 15 years ago before joining Liverpool in the summer of 2001.

During his time with the Merseyside club, the Reds won the League Cup in the 2002-03 season and perhaps most famously, the Champions League during the 2004-05.

However, a series of recurring injury problems hampered Kirkland’s progress at Liverpool and he was sent out on loan to various clubs, including Wigan Athletic.

The Latics decided to make his move permanent in October 2006, after initially impressing during a six-month loan spell and he became their first-choice keeper under then manager Steve Bruce.

He spent the next six years at the North West club before moving to Yorkshire and joining Wednesday on a two-year contract.

Player’s comments

Kirkland, who will take up number 43 this season, was thrilled to have joined the club and admitted how Preston North End is a special club.

“It has been a bit of a strange summer. Over the last 18 years I’ve always known what club I was going to be at during pre-season.”

“I turned down an offer at Sheffield in the summer. I had a great time there, but I just wanted to try something new and I’m delighted to be here.

“I know a lot about Preston North End’s history and what a great club it is. I am delighted it has been sorted out” said Kirkland.

Manager’s comments

PNE manager Simon Grayson was happy to bring in an experienced player like Kirkland to Deepdale and admitted he will be an important figure in the dressing room.

“We think Chris will add both competition for places as well as bringing his experience of playing at the highest level.”

“We are trying to get the right balance through the squad and we think Chris can add quality both on the pitch and off the pitch” said Grayson.

Kirkland might receive his first opportunity this coming weekend as PNE take on fellow 2015 promoted side Milton Keynes Dons.


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