Shrewsbury Town (League One)
#27 | Defender
January 10, 1984 (Age: 32)
6' 2", 165 lbs (1.88 m, 75 kg)
Zak Whitbread has a long history with Liverpool FC, beginning when he first joined their youth academy at age eight. His family moved to Singapore two years later, but Whitbread rejoined the Liverpool youth team upon his return to England at fifteen.
He progressed in the Academy to captain the Under-19 squad and make the reserve team. However, Whitbread was not originally retained by Liverpool upon completing his Academy stint, though he did so well at the Academy exit trials that numerous other clubs were interested in signing the tall blonde defender. Liverpool then reconsidered and inked Whitbread to a two-year contract.
Whitbread traveled with the first team during their 2003 Far East tour and played in a match against Thailand.
His consistent contributions in the reserves helped Whitbread make the roster for yet another preseason tour ? this time to the US.
Whitbread made his debut for Liverpool in a Carling Cup match against Millwall in October 2004. The versatile player ? who is equally capable on the left or in the center slot ? earned Man of the Match honors in the 3-0 win.
Liverpool locked in their blossoming talent by agreeing to a contract extension in December that kept Whitbread a 'Pool player until 2007.
On November 24th, 2005, Whitbread penned a two-month loan deal Championship side Millwall, but ended up staying until the end of the season. Despite consistently strong displays, the Liverpudlian could not prevent the Lions from being relegated to League One.
Whitbread was sold by the Reds to Millwall in June 2006 was given a two-year contract.
His 2006/07 season was marred by a persistent groin injury, limiting the former Red to 14 league, three FA Cup and two League Cup appearances.
Whitbread would spend three and a half seasons with the Lions and earned accolades as a top League One defender, although he was frequently sidelined with various sundry injuries.
In January 2010, he transferred to fellow League One club Norwich City, who went on to win promotion to the Championship.
Whitbread missed the first half of the 2010-11 season with an injury, but returned to action in January and immediately joined the starting lineup, helping the Canaries to their second successive promotion.
Whitbread made his Premier League debut in the 2011-12 season and made 18 starts as Norwich managed a respectable mid-table finish. He missed much of the season with injuries once again, however, and after the season, Norwich declined to re-sign him.
In July 2012, Leicester City announced that they signed Whitbread.
Zak Whitbread has thus far spent less than a year of his life in the United States, but he has always had the option to play as an American.
Whitbread first chose to represent the country of his birth at the L'Alcudia International Tournament in August 2003 in his debut with the Under-20 Men's National Team.
Though his teammates first met him at that tournament, his contributions were so crucial that Whitbread then became an immediate fixture for the team, as he helped the defense to allow only one goal through their first three matches.
Whitbread joined the US team for its run at the 2003 World Youth Championships, starting every match for the U-20 squad. He scored the lone US goal, his first and so far only strike as a national team player, in a 3-1 loss to Germany at the WYC.
Whitbread was named to the 2004 US Olympic qualifying team, but was injured in the week prior to the matches. His presence was sorely missed as the US back line was demolished by the Mexican forwards in the crucial match of the qualifiers.
The defender was called to the US senior team for the first time in March 2011, but withdrew from the squad due to a minor injury. Whitbread continues to await his first cap.