|Full Name:||Craig Sinclair Gordon|
|Date of Birth:||31-Dec-1982|
|Place of Birth:||Edinburgh, Scotland|
|Height:||6 ft 4 in (1.93 m)|
National team caps and goals correct as of 17 Nov 2007.
Gordon attended Balerno Community High School from 1994-2000, a well known Heart of Midlothian F.C. (Hearts) supporter since his time there. He is a graduate of Hearts' youth development programme, which in recent years has also produced fellow Scottish internationalists Iain McCran, Gary Naysmith, Allan Johnston, Paul Ritchie and Robbie Neilson. Regarded by many as possessing great agility, shot-stopping reflexes and secure handling, he is also considered to be comfortable with the ball at feet in backpass situations. Criticism has been levelled at his decision-making, while detractors have also suggested that he does not command his penalty area as authoritatively as his tall stature suggests he should; however his relative youthfulness affords him ample time to improve in these areas as he matures.
He made his debut for Hearts in a 1-1 draw with Livingston on October 6, 2002 and within 12 months had replaced Tepi Moilanen as the regular custodian of the Hearts goal. His performances during the 2003-04 season resulted in him being short-listed for the Scottish PFA Young Player of the Year award, which was won by former Celtic midfielder Stephen Pearson.
Gordon had become a Scotland regular by 2005 and his consistent displays during the 2005-06 helped Hearts to a second place finish in the Scottish Premier League and victory in the Scottish Cup. The trophy was won in a penalty shootout against Gretna following a 1-1 draw, with Gordon saving opponent Derek Townsley's penalty. That season he was voted Scottish Football Writers' Association Player of the Year, becoming the first Hearts player to win the award since Sandy Jardine in 1986 and also the first goalkeeper since Rangers' Andy Goram in 1993.
For much of the 2006-07 season rumours linked Gordon with a move away from Tynecastle, particularly following his involvement in the issuing of a statement against club owner Vladimir Romanov. Gordon and midfielder Paul Hartley flanked captain Steven Pressley as he read out a statement claiming there was "significant unrest" in the Hearts dressing room. The venue for this statement, Hearts' Riccarton training ground, led to the media dubbing the players the "Riccarton Three". Rangers, Aston Villa, Arsenal and Manchester United were all credited with an interest in the player in late 2006. Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger observed Gordon in action in Scotland's 1-0 victory against France in a Euro 2008 qualifying match. He touted Gordon as having "presence and good handling and [he] looks a very good goalkeeper to me." Gordon confirmed his rising stock with a spectacular cross-goal save in the October 2006 Edinburgh derby and the following month he was named as Hearts new captain, replacing the departed Steven Pressley.
Despite Hearts' claims that he was ill, he was "dropped" to the bench for the game against Dundee United in December 2006 for what many believed to be a disciplinary measure by the club following his involvement in the "Riccarton Three" statement.. He was reinstated, however, for the Edinburgh derby match against Hibernian three days later. He was not listed in the squad to face Rangers on 27 January 2007, just four days before the closure of the transfer window, and it was confirmed by the club that they were negotiating his transfer. Gordon, however, remained a Hearts player when the window closed.
In March 2007, Gordon expressed his interest in playing for Arsenal, after reports had cited that he was linked as a candidate to succeed Jens Lehmann as Arsenal's first-choice goalkeeper, stating "Arsenal is one of the top teams in Britain, in Europe, if not the world, so it is something that would definitely interest any player". Hearts failure to qualify for European competition at the season's end further increased speculation that Gordon would be sold, with Sunderland and Aston Villa rumoured suitors in July 2007. His appearance in Hearts 3-1 friendly defeat by FC Barcelona on 28 July 2007 proved to be his last for the club.
On November 8th, 2007 Craig Gordon was inducted into the Hearts Hall of Fame. Still only 24, he was the youngest player ever to have that honour bestowed upon him.
It was announced on August 7, 2007 that Craig Gordon had agreed a 5 year contract with Sunderland, with confirmation of the move coming the following day. Gordon's move could in future set a British record transfer fee for a goalkeeper, with £7m paid up front, and £2m based on appearances. Should the fee reach £9m it would surpass the £7.8m paid by Manchester United for Fabien Barthez.
Gordon made his debut for Sunderland in the premier league opening game against Tottenham Hotspur, keeping a clean sheet as the side won 1-0. Coincidentally, in this match his rival goalkeeper, Paul Robinson, was the England first choice. It was the first time the Scotland first choice goalkeeper and the England first choice goalkeeper had faced each other in a club match since 2001, when Arsenal's David Seaman faced Tottenham's Neil Sullivan.
Even though £9 million was spent on Gordon, Sunderland manager Roy Keane wasn't afraid to drop him to the bench, after Sunderland's 7-1 thrashing by Everton in December. Welsh goalkeeper Darren Ward took his place. However, he soon regained his place as 1st choice goalkeeper 3 games later.
Along with the great price tag came great expectations from Sunderland fans. Many claiming that he could never live up to the price, however, at home to West Ham, Craig Gordon pulled off a "9 million pound save" as he somehow managed to keep out Cole's swirling shot aimied towards the far upper corner.International career
Craig Gordon made his Scotland debut in a 4-1 victory over Trinidad and Tobago at Easter Road Stadium on May 30, 2004 during Berti Vogts' reign, latterly establishing himself as the undisputed number 1 under Vogts' successor Walter Smith then Alex McLeish. Many see him as a potential Scottish great with BBC pundit and former player Allan Preston describing him as "one of the best goalkeepers in Europe". After a 1-1 draw with Italy he drew praise from his hero Gianluigi Buffon who claimed he could be one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Christian Vieri also heaped praise on the young keeper..