Current club: Everton
Liverpool-born Leighton, a 5’8” left-back, began with Wigan Athletic. He was a first-team regular for four seasons, two in the second tier and two in the Premier League, before Everton swooped to sign him in 2007 when he was 22. He had scored four goals in 145 League appearances for the Latics.
Leighton was first capped for England’s Under-21s in a UEFA Championship Qualifier in Austria in September 2004. He was still only 19 then and went on to play in all four matches at the 2007 UEFA Under-21 Championship Finals in Holland as his caps total reached 16.
He became established in the Toffees’ first team in the 2008-09 season, featuring in 31 Premier League matches, and forced his way into the England squad for the first time for the Wembley internationals against Slovakia and Ukraine in the spring. But he had to wait until March 2010 for his senior debut, Capello including him in the team that started the Wembley friendly with Egypt.
Leighton has played in two major Finals – for Wigan in the 2006 Football League Cup and for Everton in the 2009 FA Cup. He finished on the losing side in both.
And he suffered heartache again in 2012 when Everton lost to city rivals Liverpool in The FA Cup Semi-Final at Wembley.