Following his arrival at St Mary’s on a season-long loan, find out more about defender Steven Caulker’s route to Southampton.
Steven Roy Caulker was born in Feltham, London on 29th December 1991. A talented athlete in his youth, Caulker was borough champion at 400m for four years in a row.
Despite his excellent athletic ability, Caulker chose to pursue a career in football, playing with local side Hounslow Borough as a teenager. After switching from central midfield to centre-back, he was offered trials with seven different clubs.
Caulker rejected the advances of QPR, Reading and Chelsea to sign for Tottenham Hotspur in 2007, aged 15.
The defender made an immediate impression and was called up to the Under-18s despite being under-16 during the 2007/08 season. The following year he made 31 appearances, scoring one goal, for Spurs’ youth side.
After forcing his way into the reserve side and making five appearances, as well as captaining the Under-18s, Caulker signed his first professional contract in July 2009.
His first loan move away from White Hart Lane came that summer, with the defender joining Yeovil Town on a temporary basis. He made 44 appearances in League 1, as the Glovers finished 15th in the table.
Caulker’s form for Yeovil saw him earn a call-up to England’s Under-19s squad, making his first appearance in a 3-1 win against Finland in October 2009.
The defender ended his first season of regular first-team football at the UEFA Under-19 European Championship, helping England reach the semi-finals before defeat to Spain.
Caulker returned to Spurs at the start of the 2010/11 season and made his debut for the Premier League club in a 4-1 League Cup defeat to rivals Arsenal in September 2010.
Just five days on from his debut he joined Championship side Bristol City on loan until the end of the season. Caulker made 30 appearances in all competitions, scoring his first senior goal in a 3-2 defeat to Cardiff City.
Thanks to his outstanding form in helping lead the Robins away from the relegation zone, Caulker was named the Football League Young Player of the Month in November 2010.
Caulker also made his England Under-21s debut that month, coming on as a substitute in a 2-0 defeat to Germany.
His season with Bristol City was cut short through injury in March, but he was still named as the club’s young player of the year and nominated for their player of the year.
Having gained experience in League 1 and the Championship, Caulker made the step up to the Premier League in 2011 with Swansea City. The defender made 26 appearances during his time in Wales, helping the club to an 11th-placed finish in their first season in the top flight.
At the end of the campaign, Caulker was named in Stuart Pearce’s 18-man Great Britain squad for the 2012 Summer Olympics in London. The defender featured in every game for Pearce’s side, as they suffered a quarter-final defeat to South Korea.
The 2012/13 campaign saw Caulker make his breakthrough for Tottenham, playing 18 times in the Premier League and scoring twice, as well as six appearances in the UEFA Europa League.
Caulker also won his first senior cap in November 2012, marking his debut with a goal in a 4-2 friendly defeat to Sweden.
Despite his breakthrough season with Spurs, Caulker moved on permanently in the summer of 2013, joining newly-promoted Cardiff City on a four-year contract.
He played in every Premier League game for the Welsh side, scoring an impressive five goals, but was unable to prevent Cardiff from suffering relegation back to the Championship.
His desire to continue playing Premier League football saw him move on again the following summer, joining Queens Park Rangers on a permanent basis. He made 36 appearances, scoring once, in all competitions but was unable to stop the R’s from dropping back into the second tier.
Caulker joins Saints on loan having scored ten goals in 206 senior appearances.