CCF Rebooted 28: Nathan Eccleston
Thursday, 12th May 2022 15:29 by AtThePeake
Chaff has told me I have to make sure I'm writing stuff for the site all summer so I'm sorry to announce that the CCF series is back, but unfortunately we're still stuck in the mire of the Steve Eyre era as we remember Nathan Eccleston.
Arrived from: Liverpool (loan)
Left for: Liverpool (end of loan)
Played : 2011
Appearances : 5
Goals : 1
Eccleston ended up being just another wasted loan spot for Steve Eyre, although he came to Rochdale with a fairly decent reputation in the early stages of the 2011/2012 campaign.
The youngster had been on the books at Bury before being signed by Liverpool aged just 15 and having racked up the goals for the Reds' youth team, he made his first-team debut aged just 18 in October 2009. That debut came against Chelsea in the EFL Cup, before he made his Premier League bow against Fulham a few days later with both appearances coming from the bench.
The Newton Heath-born forward was sent on loan to Huddersfield later in that season and scored on his debut for the Terriers against Yeovil Town. However, that would be the highlight of his half-season in West Yorkshire as he would start just four games out of a total 12 appearances and fail to score against as Town finished in the play-offs before losing to Millwall at the semi-final stage.
In the early stages of the following campaign, Eccleston would enjoy a few minutes for Roy Hodgson's Liverpool, although he did miss a penalty during an embarrassing shoot-out defeat to Northampton Town in the EFL Cup. The second half of the season was spent at Charlton, where he found the net three times in 21 league appearances playing mostly as a striker but occasionally on the left side of a front three.
Given his pedigree at Liverpool, Dale fans had every right to be excited by the signing of Eccleston and he gave those fans even more reasons to be excited when he marked his debut with a goal on the half-hour mark at Exeter. Unfortunately, the game still ended in a 3-1 defeat for Steve Eyre's men.
That goal would prove to be the highlight of Eccleston's one month at Rochdale however. He'd start the next two games at home against Leyton Orient and Chesterfield, but as Dale picked up just one point from an available six, Eyre shuffled the pack again and the Liverpool loanee dropped to the bench.
In all honestly, Eccleston seemed unsure of the role he was playing and perhaps lacked the physicality required to really effect games at League One level at that age. There was clearly quality there and some pace too, but he looked like an example of a player not yet ready for the task he'd been set.
He was introduced from the bench on three more occasions, including in an unexpected away win over Preston North End before returning to his parent club. His time at LFC would come to an end at the end of the campaign though, with Blackpool paying an undisclosed fee for his services in the summer of 2012.
Eccleston's time at Bloomfield Road was hampered by a recurring hamstring injury though and he made just 9 league appearances for the Tangerines, scoring once. He again found himself sent out on loan, taking in short spells at Tranmere (1 game), Carlisle (2 games) and Coventry (8 games) without managing to find the net in any.
It was little surprise then that he was released from Blackpool upon the expiration of his contract. He then found himself north of the border with Partick Thistle (one goal in nine games) and Kilmarnock (one goal in ten games) but didn't do enough to earn a long-term deal with either of those clubs during his time in Scotland.
A short spell in Hungary with Békéscsaba in 2016 had appeared to spell the end of Eccleston's career. After one goal in five games for 'Lilak' he returned to the UK to start a business selling women's activewear, which will perhaps have surprised anyone who expected big things from a player who had once been among the star turns within the Liverpool youth system at Melwood.
He briefly returned to football in 2019, making two substitute appearances in the National League North for Nuneaton Borough, but that short-lived spell appears to have brought his football career to an end as he's now focused on his business interests instead.
Photo: Action Images
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