Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Platt was rejected by Manchester United as a youngster and allowed to join Crewe Alexandra from where he carved out a reputation as a strong-running, free-scoring midfielder. Top clubs came to look, and he eventually joined Aston Villa.
After adapting quickly to top-flight football, Platt was given his first England cap by Bobby Robson in a friendly against Italy in 1989. Although he had few caps and had shown little promise as an international footballer by the time Robson named his 22 players for the 1990 World Cup, Platt got a place due to his versatility and reliability.
Platt was on the bench for all of England's group games, but was sent on as an extra-time substitute in the second round game against Belgium. He responded by scoring a memorable volley in the very last minute of the extra period - his first goal for his country - sending England into the quarter finals.
With captain Bryan Robson suffering an injury, Platt started the next game - a quarter-final tie against Cameroon - as his replacement, and scored the opening goal in a 3-2 victory. He also appeared in the semi-final against West Germany which went to a penalty shoot-out after finishing 1-1. Platt scored England's third penalty, but the next two were not converted and England went out of the tournament. Platt ended the competition on a personal high by scoring his third goal of the finals in a 2-1 defeat by Italy in the third place play-off.
The post-tournament hype for team-mate Paul Gascoigne meant that Platt's own outstanding World Cup was not tainted or affected by massive media reaction. He quietly settled back into his captain's role at Villa and retained his starting place in the England team, now (luckily for Platt) managed by Graham Taylor, his former manager at Villa.
Platt became England's most consistent performer of the early 1990s, scoring goals with frequency from midfield and proving an inspirational leader. He was captain for much of this period, though Tony Adams also skippered the side. Adams was, however, a less automatic choice and was also injured more.
In the Euro 92 tournament, England failed to win any of their group games and crashed out, with Platt scoring their only goal of the competition in a 2-1 defeat against Sweden. The squad then failed, despite Platt's continuing drive from midfield, to qualify for the 1994 World Cup and Taylor quit. His replacement, Terry Venables, kept Platt in his squads (indeed, Platt scored the first England goal in the Venables era) but by the time Euro 96 came round, Platt had to settle for a place on the bench, with Paul Ince and Gascoigne getting the coveted midfield roles and Adams the captaincy.
Platt appeared as a substitute in most of the Euro 96 games, and started the quarter final against Spain as Ince was suspended. In the semi-final, he once again scored in a penalty shoot-out against Germany, but equally similarly, ended up on the losing side. Platt retired from international football afterwards after 62 appearances (13 as captain) and an impressive 27 goals.
Meanwhile, his abilities as a footballer had, in 1993 taken him from Aston Villa to Italy, where he successfully turned out for Bari, Juventus and Sampdoria, costing many millions of pounds in transfer fees. Arsenal then recruited him in 1996 and he finally won domestic honours in the game two years later as part of the squad which won both the Premier League and the FA Cup.
He left Arsenal afterwards to become coach of Sampdoria, a controversial stint which ended prematurely, with other clubs protesting that Platt didn't have the appropriate coaching qualifications for managing in Serie A. In 1999 Platt was appointed player-coach of Nottingham Forest but this was unsuccessful, with Platt spending several million pounds on players who did not perform well and plunging the club into large sums of debt. Platt's tenure at Forest was marred by disagreements with several experienced, long-serving players, leading to them being isolated from the first-team picture and subsequently released by the club.
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