Jason Puncheon

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Jason Puncheon is an English midfielder who was born in Croydon on June 26th 1986. He began his career with Wimbledon, shortly before The Dons relocated to Milton Keynes. He made his debut for the club on March 13th 2004 as a second half substitute at Walsall. He would go on to make a further 7 appearances for a Wimbledon side that was relegated to the third tier of English football.

Puncheon became a regular the following season for the Milton Keynes club who finally changed their name in accordance with their new location. He played 31 times during 2004/05 and netted his first professional goal against Torquay on August 30th. After falling down the pecking order during the 2005/06 season, MK Dons released Puncheon in January.

Puncheon had brief spells with non league Fisher Athletic and Lewes after leaving The Dons, but it was League 2 Barnet who he joined permanently in June 2006. Puncheon enjoyed a very successful spell at Underhill and scored his first for The Bees after just 3 matches, in a 3-0 win against Hereford. He netted 6 times in total for the club during 2006/07. The following season things got even better, when he scored 4 goals in his first 5 matches of 2007/08. By the end of the campaign Puncheon had 11 goals and was named in the League 2 PFA team of the year.

Plymouth paid £250,000 to bring Puncheon to Home Park in the summer of 2008. Unfortunately he struggled with the step up from League 2 to the Championship and only featured 6 times for the club before he was loaned back to MK Dons in October 2008. Puncheon fared better at Stadium MK than he had previously, scoring 4 times that season. The Dons took him on loan again for the 2009/10 season, where he was one of the club's stand out players. Between August and January he managed 8 goals for the club. This form alerted Southampton, who brought Puncheon to St Marys just before the January deadline. Ironically one of Puncheon's finally matches for MK Dons was against Saints in the Johnstone's Paint Trophy. He had also netted MK's only goal in their 3-1 defeat to Puncheon's new club back in October.

Puncheon looked decent when he made his debut on a terrible St James Park pitch at Exeter on February 6th. He was cup tied in both the FA Cup and Football League Trophy so missed the defeat to rivals Portsmouth and the Wembley win against Carlisle. Puncheon did play a key role in the side's impressive run in the league however. He scored in thumping wins against Walsall, Huddersfield and Bristol Rovers, and created numerous chances for others throughout his first few months at the club. He was named in the League 1 team of the year at the end of the season.

Puncheon missed much of the 2010/11 pre-season through injury, which would possibly explain why his form wasn't quite up to the same standard it had been previously. Some fans even began to turn on Puncheon, until he lost his spot in the team to Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain in October.

Puncheon didn't waste much time trying to win his place back, moving to Millwall on November 16th. He had an extremely successful spell at The Den, scoring on his debut against Middlesbrough after just 25 minutes. He later grabbed a hatrick in his final match for The Lions on January 1st against Crystal Palace. After netting 5 in 7 for Millwall, many assumed a permanent move to the London club was on the cards, but terms between the two sides couldn't be agreed and Puncheon returned to Southampton.

Puncheon made his Southampton comeback on January 8th, and looked extremely impressive in the exciting 2-0 FA Cup win against Blackpool. He would only play one more time for the St Marys club however, in a 0-0 home draw to Notts County on January 15th. Puncheon didn't travel to the January 22nd match at Tranmere after manager Nigel Adkins claimed the midfielder 'wasn't in the right frame of mind'.

Puncheon left Southampton on January 31st 2011 and joined Premiership Blackpool on loan, who he'd performed so well against weeks earlier. He may well be the only player who has ever left a League 1 club struggling for a first team spot to become a regular for a Premiership side. He scored a goal on his debut for The Tangerines in an amazing 5-3 defeat at Everton. He netted his second Blackpool goal in a televised match against Premiership champions Chelsea. Despite inconsistent showings for Southampton in League 1 during the early part of the 2010/11 season, Puncheon didn't look out of place at all in the Premiership. He scored in the penultimate match of the Premiership campaign on 14th May, a 4-3 win over Bolton. That wasn't enough for The Seasiders however, who were relegated the following week after a 4-2 loss at Manchester United. Puncheon had a hand in Blackpool's second that day, which put them 2-1 up after 57 minutes.

Puncheon returned to Southampton in June 2011, but was forced to train with the development squad. He continued to be ostracised until August 31st when he moved to QPR on loan for 6 months. Puncheon made just two appearances at the Loftus Road club before returning to Southampton on January 3rd. He remained in the cold at Staplewood for the next few weeks, and when he launched a Twitter attack on Chairman Nicola Cortese it looked as if his Saints career was over. Incredibly though, the pair patched up their differences and Puncheon returned to the first team squad. His comeback game came against former club Millwall on 28th January 2012. Puncheon looked hungry and eager to impress. He performed well in the next few matches, but was dropped in March after a poor showing at Leeds. He came back in to the starting eleven on March 20th at Hull, but looked well below his best yet again. Puncheon then sat on the sidelines before making a cameo appearance on the final day against Coventry.

2012/13 saw Puncheon make a remarkable comeback. He played himself into contention during pre-season with an outstanding run of form. He scored a cracker against Stevenage in August, and then caused all sorts of problems in a narrow defeat to Man United on 2nd September. He hit the back of the net in Saints' first league win of the season against Aston Villa. One of the most consistent performers during the autumn months. Puncheon tore through the QPR defence with ease on 17th November. He made if four for the season on December 8th with a decent strike against relegation rivals Reading. His occasional reluctance to pull the trigger in front of goal could frustrate at times, and he was sometimes accused of lacking the ingenuity to break down difficult defences. His work rate made up for a lot of his shortcomings, however. The former Plymouth man played to his strengths, and got the absolute best out of what he had. His leveller against Chelsea on January 16th was an absolute peach. Puncheon further endeared himself to the St Marys crowd with an impromptu toilet break against Everton. He was slightly below his best against Manchester United and Wigan, but stunning in the 3-1 win over Man City. Often on the bench under Pochettino. Puncheon still did his bit, grabbing a priceless equaliser against Sunderland in the penultimate clash of the season. He signed a new contract in March 2013, something that would have been considered unthinkable 15 months earlier.