East Bengal: A look into the career of ace signing Anthony Pilkington

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Anthony Pilkington, Norwich City
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Goal takes a glimpse into the career of former Norwich City winger and new East Bengal signing Anthony Pilkington…

East Bengal have been making the headlines in Indian football since the day they announced the arrival of new investors Shree Cement Limited who facilitated the club’s entry into the Indian Super League (ISL), which is the top tier of Indian football.

After the confirmation of East Bengal joining the ISL came, the new team management was quick to hire former Liverpool star Robbie Fowler as the head coach. 

Fowler’s appointment was followed by the addition of some top quality foreign players to the squad as per the manager’s instructions. The club has so far announced the signings of six overseas stars and every single player comes with a good pedigree. 

One such name is former Norwich City midfielder Anthony Pilkington who joined the club after leaving English Championship side Wigan Athletic.

The Republic of Ireland international has vast experience of playing at various levels of English football. He had also plied his trade in the Premier League for three seasons while being at Norwich City.

Debut

Anthony Pilkington played his youth football at Preston North End, Blackburn Rovers and the famous Manchester United before making his professional debut for Stockport County in League One during the 2008-09 season. The very next season, he headed to Huddersfield Town. In two seasons at Huddersfield, he played 76 league games and scored 17 goals.

Anthony Pilkington, Norwich City

Premier League experience

After spending four seasons in the third tier of English football with Stockport and Huddersfield, the winger took a massive leap in his career in 2011 when he was offered a contract by Premier League side Norwich City. In the three seasons he spent with the Canaries, Pilkington appeared in 75 Premier League matches in which he had scored 14 goals.

While he scored eight goals in his debut season at the top level, his most memorable year has to be the 2012-13 season where he scored two goals in two matches against Manchester City and a goal against that season’s champions Manchester United. In fact, his goal had helped Norwich defeat the Red Devils 1-0.

Anthony Pilkington, Ireland

International football

Born in Blackburn, England, Pilkington got the opportunity to play for the Republic of Ireland through his paternal grandmother who was from Dublin. After representing the country at the U21 level, the winger got a senior national team call up in 2013 from legendary Italian manager Giovanni Trapattoni during the 2014 World Cup qualifiers. He made his international debut against Sweden in a qualifying game which the Republic of Ireland lost 1-2.

He has appeared in nine international matches where he scored just one goal which came against the USA in an international friendly which Ireland had won 4-1.

Last stint

Pilkington signed an 18-month deal with Wigan Athletic in January 2019. He made 10 appearances for the Latics without scoring a goal in 2018-19. However, in the 2019-20 season, he made 16 appearances and scored three goals. His deal ran out at the end of 2019-20 season and he joined East Bengal. 

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