Irish striker Stephen Elliott has enjoyed a career in football that has ultimately taken him north of the border since he graduated from City’s prestigious Academy several years ago.
Born in Dublin, Elliott played for Irish youth clubs Belvedere and Stella Maris before heading to the Blues’ youth headquarters at Platt Lane. He made his Premier League debut aged 20 as a substitute in City’s 3-1 home win against Bolton Wanderers and made one other substitute appearance for then-manager Kevin Keegan’s side before Sunderland signed him for an initial fee of £125,000.
Elliott soon settled into his stride and scored 15 goals in his debut season to contribute to the Black Cats’ promotion to the Premier League as Champions in May 2005, winning the club’s Young Player of the Season award. Despite his second season at Sunderland being blighted by injuries, he still managed to score two incredible goals against Manchester United and Newcastle United. Sunderland were relegated to the Championship and Elliott continued to be troubled by injuries.
At the end of the 2006/07 season Sunderland secured Premier League promotion, but the Irishman was sold to Wolverhampton Wanderers and linked up with the manager who had taken him to the Stadium of Light, Mick McCarthy. He made 29 appearances for the Molineux side and scored four goals. When Wolves failed to secure promotion to the Premier League, Elliott was transfer-listed and subsequently signed for Preston North End in September 2008.
Elliott scored seven goals in 46 appearances for the Lillywhites before being loaned to Norwich City in March 2010 for the remainder of that season.
The striker was signed by Scottish side Heart of Midlothian in August 2010. He scored on his debut in the Edinburgh derby against Hibernian to help Hearts to a 2-0 victory. He has subsequently scored regularly for the Tynecastle outfit and has become a full international for the Republic of Ireland.