The Graduates: No.6 Chris Killen
- 07 October 2011 09:35
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
It is perhaps fitting that the next Academy graduate, hailing as he did from the other side of the world, should have become a globetrotter after a decent stint in the game in Britain.
Chris Killen hails from Wellington and is one of the small number of New Zealanders who have left the Land of the Long White Cloud to make a go of professional football in this country.
Following a nomadic time in the UK, he now plies his trade with Shenzhen Ruby in China.
Killen was recommended to City by an acquaintance of former Academy chief Jim Cassell, but after progressing into contention for the senior side he could not force his way into the starting line-up.
Loan spells at Wrexham and Port Vale brought him a few goals, and he was recalled from the latter to make his three appearances for City’s first team in 2001/02.
He was sold to Oldham in summer 2002 and in three-and-a-half years at Boundary Park he scored 17 goals in the League, but his form was hampered by several injuries.
After leaving the Latics on a free, he headed north of the border to join Hibs, and enjoyed a short - but prolific - spell for the Edinburgh outfit before a serious Achilles tendon injury stopped him in his tracks.
Leaving Easter Road on a free, he joined Celtic in the summer of 2007, but he could not establish himself for the Glasgow giants
He did cross paths with City once more, scoring for the Hoops in a pre-season friendly at the City of Manchester Stadium (as it still was then) in August 2009 – a goal set-up by another former City striker, Georgios Samaras.
A loan move to Norwich did not pay off for Killen and he eventually left Parkhead to join his former Celtic boss Gordon Strachan at Middlesbrough.
Eighteen months at the Riverside proved largely fruitless and brought just three goals before Killen moved to China, but the end of his time in the UK coincided with his appearance on the biggest stage of all.
Having won his first international cap before playing league football, Killen played in all three of the All Whites’ games at the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.
The plucky Kiwis came third in their group but remained unbeaten and finished above world champions Italy, with Killen making a more than useful contribution.
His star may have never truly shone, but Killen proved that he could earn a decent living through hard work and application and therefore is regarded as an Academy success story.
Has he still got what it takes? Check out this goal and make your own mind up!