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Neil Emblen

Neil Emblem
Norwich Career: 2001-2003 (15 appearances)
Current Club: Colorado Rapids (USA) (Assistant Coach)
Date of Birth: 19/06/1971
Nationality: English


Wolves midfielder Neil Emblen signed a three year contract with Norwich on 11th July 2001 costing the Canaries 500,000. Norwich had the opportunity to sign Emblen in 1993 when Mike Walker was offered the then Sittingbourne midfielder described as the "new Bryan Robson". Walker turned down the opportunity and Neil joined Millwall. His career has since taken him to Wolves (twice) and Crystal Palace and he has become a highly rated midfielder who once was valued at 2million. Although aged 30, his versatility enables him to play in defence or even as a striker although his preferred position is central midfield. From this role, he will lead the Canaries for 2001/02 as Nigel Worthington named him as the club's captain (with former Wolves teammate and friend Iwan Roberts as vice captain)

Neil made his debut for the Canaries in their 4-0 thrashing at Millwall on the opening day of the 2001/02 season although he can be excused some responsibility as he was stretchered off injured during the first half. He missed most of the season though this injury, making just one further appearance.

Neil had been primarily used as substitute during 2002/03. Therefore he was allowed to join Walsall on a month's loan on January 9th 2003 to gain match fitness. Both Emblen and Worthington stressed that this was a temproary measure to get Neil fit and that he was returning to Carrow Road.

On 28th April 2003, Norwich announced that they had come to an agreement with Neil that would see his contract terminated a year early. His wages would help Nigel Worthington rebuild and freshen up the first team squad. Neil had made just 15 appearances in total for the Canaries, 9 of which has been as substitute. He has since embarked on a trial with Walsall who received special clearance from the Football League to play him on the last day of the season in a meaningless clash with Sheffield Wednesday. Walsall then signed Neil on a one year contract in June 2003 despite a rival enquiry from Southend. Unfortunately for the Saddlers, they were relegated from Division One on the last day of the 2003/4 season.

In April 2005, Neil announced that he would be joining the new Australian A-League in the summer. He signed for Auckland-based New Zealand Knights - the same club that former Saddlers Danny Hay and Darren Bazeley have already signed for. "I had hoped to delay this announcement until our safety in League One was
confirmed, because I didn't want anything to detract from the job,
" said Emblen.

Two yeas later, Emblen joined New Zealand Northern League side Waitakere City who beat Auckland City and Waikato for his signature. Neil had also played two friendly matches for American tside Puerto Rico Islanders during April 2007. He was deemed too expensive to sign for the entire season because of the cost of relocating his family, but will play for the Islanders during June and July 2007.

Emblen later took up a position of youth development officer at Waitakere but was appointed player-manager in August 2009 when previous coach, Chris Milicich, jumped ship to join rivals Auckland City

In October 2011, it was announced that Emblen would take charge of New Zealand's Under-23 side as they bid to qualify for the London 2012 Olympic football tournament. They were successful and so in July/August 2012, Neil coached his side at the London 2012 Olympics. They lost 1-0 to Belarus, drew 1-1 with Egypt and lost 3-0 to Brazil.

Waitakere decided that they did not want Emblen's management anymore and they parted company with him in the summer of 2012. He remains as assistant to New Zealand national coach Rikki Herbert.

On 19th December 2012, he was appointed as manager of New Zealand third tier side Western Springs.

In 2014 he was placed as interim manager of the New Zealand national team after the departure of Rikki Herbert and until Anthony Hudson took control in August 2014.

In February 2018 he moved to the USA as Assistant Coach of the Colorado Rapids in the MLS, coached initially by Anthony Hudson.

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