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Sulzeer Jeremiah Campbell, better known as Sol Campbell (born Newham, London, 18 September 1974), is an English footballer with Arsenal and England.

Campbell, a powerful central defender, was a prodigious schoolboy talent and was part-educated at the FA's School of Excellence, before joining the ranks at Arsenal's deadly North London rivals Tottenham Hotspur. He made his first team debut for Spurs in December 1992, scoring a goal after coming on as a substitute for Nick Barmby, though he didn't appear again that season. He played up front and in every defensive position over the course of the next two seasons before settling as a central defender. As club captain Gary Mabbutt's appearances became more limited because of injury and age, Campbell became Spurs' lynchpin defender.

He made his England debut against Hungary in May 1996, coming on as a substitute. Although he had only one cap by the time Terry Venables selected his squad for Euro 96, Campbell got in as defensive cover, and came on in England's famous 2-0 win over Scotland for his second cap.

Over the next two years, Campbell became a strong and brave presence at the heart of England's defence, largely displacing Gareth Southgate in the race to partner Tony Adams. The pairing were first choice as new England coach Glenn Hoddle shaped his squad for the 1998 World Cup in France.

Campbell was involved in a highly controversial incident in England's second round clash against old footballing foes Argentina. The game was locked at 2-2 with fewer than ten minutes to go (and with England down to ten men after David Beckham was sent off) when Campbell managed to head a corner into the Argentinian net. He wheeled away to celebrate his first international goal, which looked certain to put England into the quarter finals, but a push by Alan Shearer had caused the referee to blow for a foul. Campbell was still in the corner of the pitch with England supporters as Argentina restarted the game and counter-attacked. England went out on penalties but Campbell emerged a hero.

Campbell played in England's successful qualification campaign for Euro 2000 and in all the three group games at the tournament, which England exited after defeat by Romania. His club career, however, was starting to evoke major concern among Spurs supporters and interest within the media because he was entering the last year of his contract and was stalling on a new deal.

In the summer of 2001 Campbell's contract expired. Mindful of the Bosman ruling, Tottenham offered him a contract which would have made him the club's highest-ever paid player, but after months of negotiations, Campbell stated his wish to leave the club in order to play at Europe's top level, the Champions League. With several top European clubs courting him, he stunned football (and left Spurs fans raging) by joining Arsenal. Ever since, he has been labelled Judas by Spurs supporters, though Campbell always maintained that he loved Tottenham, and that his decision was entirely professional.

In his first season at Arsenal (2001-02, he won the Premiership and FA Cup. His partner at the back was Tony Adams, who would retire from football at the end of that season, leaving Campbell as the senior defender for both club and country.

Campbell scored his first England goal at the 2002 World Cup in the opening group game against Sweden. England drew the game 1-1, but then beat the old enemy Argentina in the next match (in which Campbell was outstanding) and ultimately progressed to the quarter finals, where they lost to eventual winners Brazil.

In 2003 Campbell maintained his Arsenal and England place, but an injury he suffered towards the end of the season curtailed the Gunners' title chances and he also missed their successful retention of the FA Cup. He did, however, help his country qualify for Euro 2004.

After a successful domestic season for Campbell in 2004, when Arsenal regained the Premiership title without losing a game, Campbell yet again had a late goal disallowed as England fought to make progress in a major tournament. Against hosts Portugal in the quarter finals, the game was locked at 1-1 with a minute to go when Campbell won a header in the opposition six-yard box to score what seemed to be a dramatic, late winner for England. However, the referee, Urs Meier, once more noticed a push by an England team-mate (this time Campbell's defensive partner John Terry - in the team because of Rio Ferdinand's suspension from playing) and gave a free kick. The game ended level after 120 minutes of football, and England failed to progress to the next stage after a penalty shootout. Meier received threats to his life afterwards.

Campbell continues to play for Arsenal, winning an FA Cup winners' medal in 2005, as well as England, although his place in the international team has been less secure since the emergence as a partnership of Terry and Ferdinand, which blossomed during Campbell's period of absence with injury in 2005. That said, in October 2005 he won his 66th cap and earned himself (jointly) a place in the top 20 most capped England players. If he plays an active part in the 2006 World Cup, as expected, he will become the first England player to feature in the final stages of six separate tournaments.

As a single man, Campbell is often photographed on evenings out and has dated some high-profile women in showbusiness, but he has also kept much of his private life private. He has most recently been linked with Dido, the singer who is also a devout Arsenal fan.

Campbell has a son, Joseph, from a previous relationship.

 

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