Steven Roy Caulker (born 29 December 1991) is an English professional footballer who plays as a centre-back for Championship club Queens Park Rangers. He has made one appearance for the England national team.
Caulker is a product of the Tottenham Hotspur Academy and spent a season long loan spell in the 2009–10 season at League One side Yeovil Town. His performances during this loan spell brought him to the attention of the England U19 side and made 11 appearances including reaching the semi-finals of the 2010 Under-19 European Championships. He followed this up with another loan spell at Championship side Bristol City making 30 appearances and winning recognition from the England U21 side before injury cut his season short. A third loan spell followed at newly promoted Premier League side Swansea City. Caulker made 26 appearances and helped the club maintain their Premier League status, and the following summer he represented the Great Britain Olympic football team at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Caulker received his first call up to the England senior side and later in November 2012 made his full England debut against Sweden, scoring a debut goal.
Caulker was born in Feltham in the London Borough of Hounslow. He attended Staines Preparatory School as his primary school and Lampton School as his secondary school, and was borough champion at 400m for four years in a row. As a boy he supported his hometown club Brentford.
Despite being a talented athlete as a teenager, Caulker chose to pursue a career in football playing his early football with Hounslow Borough, his local side. After initially playing as a central midfielder, he acted on advice from a coach and made the switch to central defence. After a single game at centre-back for Hounslow at the age of 15, he was offered trials with seven clubs including Tottenham Hotspur, Chelsea, Reading and Queens Park Rangers. Caulker joined the Tottenham Hotspur youth team and having broken into the Under-18s side as an Under-16 player during the 2007–08 season, Caulker progressed to make 31 appearances and scored one goal in 2008–09. He also forced his way into the reserve side that season, making five appearances, and captained the Under-18s towards the start of that season. He impressed during his first season as a full-time scholar and signed his first professional contract at Tottenham in July 2009.
Loan to Yeovil Town
In July 2009, Caulker went on loan to League One side Yeovil Town along with teammate Ryan Mason. He made his league debut at the start of the 2009–10 season against Tranmere Rovers, where Yeovil won 2–0. After impressing in Yeovil's 0–0 draw with Oldham, Caulker made the Football League Team of the Week. Along with fellow Tottenham loanees Ryan Mason and Jonathan Obika, on 5 November 2009 his loan extended until the end of the 2009–10 season. On 1 March 2010, Caulker was included in the Team of the Week for a second time following the 1–0 home win against MK Dons. Caulker returned to Spurs one game early after starting 44 of Yeovil's 45 league games, having missed only one game due to playing for England U19s also taking four of Yeovil's five end of season awards. In November 2013, he was selected to be part of Yeovil Town's 'Team of the Decade', which was voted for by the club's fans to commemorate their tenth season as a Football League club. Caulker was the only loan player to be chosen.
Loan to Bristol City
After returning from the U19 European Championships and a successful loan spell Caulker was awarded with a new contract until 2013. In early August a Daily Mirror report suggested Caulker may again be loaned out, this time to Championship side Leeds United, in a bid to continue his development through regular competitive football. but this deal fell through when Caulker sustained a groin injury. He made his Tottenham debut in a 1–4 home defeat, after extra time, against Arsenal in the Carling Cup on 21 September 2010.
Just five days after his Tottenham debut, Caulker was loaned out to Championship side Bristol City until the end of the season where he joined Spurs team-mate Danny Rose. He made his Bristol City debut in the 3–1 away defeat to Portsmouth. In his 50th professional game, on 16 October, Caulker scored his first goal in Bristol City's 3–2 defeat against Cardiff City. Thanks to his outstanding form helping guide Bristol City away from the relegation zone, Caulker was rewarded with Young Player of the Month for the npower Football League for November. Caulker scored his second goal of the season with an injury time equaliser in the 2–2 draw with Queens Park Rangers, on 3 January 2011. On 28 March 2011 his season was cut short due to a knee cartilage injury which ruled him out for the rest of the 2010–11 season and so returned to Tottenham for treatment and surgery on his ankle, His 30-game loan spell received praise from both manager Keith Millen and former England goalkeeper David James describing in his Observer column as 'quality' and one of Bristol City's 'best players'. Caulker won Bristol City's Young Player of the Year award for the 2010–11 season and was a nominee for Player of the Year.
Loan to Swansea City
In early June 2011, Caulker was linked to a further season-long loan move to help continue his development through regular football this time to newly promoted Premier League sides Swansea City and Norwich City as well as another stint at Bristol City. On 1 July 2011, Caulker officially joined Swansea City on a season-long loan, with Swansea paying an initial fee for his services and an option to review the loan in January. Former member of Spurs' backroom staff and Newport County manager Anthony Hudson described Caulker as having the "potential to be one of the best defenders in country". Hudson said during his time at Bristol City, Caulker was "the best defender in the Championship" and described him as "one to watch this season because I think he’s going to be a real star". He made his Premier League and Swansea City debut in the 4–0 away defeat to Manchester City, playing the full 90 minutes. After featuring in all of Swansea's first four Premier League and keeping two clean sheets, Caulker suffered a knee cartilage injury when he collided with a goalpost in Swansea's game against Arsenal. The injury ruled him out for around eight weeks. Despite initially targeting his return for the match against Manchester United on 19 November 2011, Caulker returned to action after three months out in the 2–0 home victory over Fulham on 10 December 2011. Caulker became a mainstay for the remainder of Swansea's Premier League campaign and made 26 starts overall, helping the club finish 11th in the Premier League.
Return to Tottenham
On 5 July 2012, Caulker signed a new four-year contract with Tottenham Hotspur until the summer of 2016. Having been an unused substitute at the start of the season, on 20 September 2012, Caulker made his European debut in the UEFA Europa League group stage match against Lazio helping his side keep a clean sheet in a 0–0 draw and having a goal harshly disallowed. The following weekend, Caulker made his Premier League debut for Tottenham Hotspur as a half-time substitute in the 2–1 home victory over Queens Park Rangers. Caulker retained his place and received his first Tottenham league start in the next match against Manchester United, with Tottenham eventually winning the game 3–2 breaking a 23-year winless run at Old Trafford. After the game centre back partner William Gallas praised Caulker for his performance and felt in time he would become one of the best defenders in England. On 7 October 2012, Caulker scored his first goal for Tottenham in their 2–0 home win against Aston Villa, redirecting a Jermain Defoe shot into the back of the net in the 58th minute of the game. He scored his second goal for the club on 11 November 2012, opening the scoring with a header in a 2–1 defeat away at Manchester City. Caulker finished the season having made 28 appearances in all competitions for Tottenham scoring two goals.
On 31 July 2013, Cardiff City announced that they had signed Caulker from Tottenham Hotspur for a club record fee in excess of £8 million, and that he had signed a four-year contract with the newly promoted side. Caulker made his Cardiff debut in their first league match of the season a 2–0 defeat against West Ham United, on 17 August 2013. Caulker scored his second league goal for Cardiff in a 1–0 home win against former loan club and rivals Swansea City, the winning goal in the first ever South Wales derby in the Premier League. On 8 March 2014, he scored twice in a 3–1 win against Fulham. Caulker was ever-present for Cardiff in the Premier League playing every minute of the campaign scoring five goals, but was unable to prevent them from suffering relegation back to the Championship.
Queens Park Rangers
On 22 July 2014, Caulker transferred to Queens Park Rangers for an undisclosed fee, signing a four-year contract. He scored his first goal for the club in a 2–2 home draw against Stoke City on 20 September.
Loan to Southampton
On 29 July 2015, Caulker joined Premier League side Southampton on a season-long loan. He made his debut for Southampton in the second-leg of their Europa League third qualifying round match against Vitesse Arnhem, on 6 August 2015. Caulker only made eight appearances for Southampton, the last of which came in a 6–1 defeat by Liverpool on 2 December 2015.
Loan to Liverpool
Caulker's loan with Southampton was cancelled on 12 January 2016 to allow him to join Premier League side Liverpool on loan until the end of the season. Caulker made his Liverpool debut on 13 January 2016 in the 3–3 draw with Arsenal at Anfield when he replaced Adam Lallana as an auxiliary striker in the 87th minute. For the next two league games, home against Manchester United and away against Norwich City, he entered the match as striker in the 90th minute, contributing to the 95th-minute winner by Adam Lallana in the latter.
Caulker was named along with fellow Spurs loanee Ryan Mason in the England U19s for three European Championship qualification games in Slovenia, appearing in matches against Finland and Slovenia. Caulker achieved his third and fourth caps for the U19s in friendlies against Turkey and the Netherlands respectively. Caulker was again included in the England U19 squad for the Elite Round of qualification in the Ukraine for the European Championships. Caulker played the full 90 minutes of England U19s' first two games, beating Ireland and Bosnia and Herzegovina 1–0 and 4–0 respectively. Caulker also played the full 90 minutes in the final game against Ukraine, a 1–1 draw enough to take England through to the European Championships by winning Group 3 of the Elite qualification round. Caulker was again called up for the final 18 man squad for the European Championships, for group games against Austria, the hosts France and the Netherlands. Caulker started all three group games a 3–2 win over Austria and a 1–0 defeat to the Netherlands and a 1–1 draw with France confirming England's progress to the semi-final stage. England reached the semi-finals, where Caulker earned his 11th cap as England lost 3–1 to Spain. Caulker had had a successful tournament, starting all of England's games and playing all bar a couple of minutes of the tournament. Due to being over age for the next European Championships, Caulker along with the majority of the previous England U19s was not included in the squad for the friendly against Slovakia in September 2010.
Caulker received his first call-up to the England U21 squad for the friendly against Germany on 16 November 2010. He made his debut in that match, coming on as a 77th-minute substitute for Martin Kelly in a 2–0 defeat. In February 2011 Caulker was called up to the England U20 squad for their friendly against France but withdrew after an injury. Caulker was named in the 31-man U21s squad for two warm-up matches for the 2011 U21 European Championship with friendlies against Denmark and Iceland but had to pull out through injury and missed both games, and the treatment of this injury caused Caulker to miss out on a call-up to the 40-man provisional squad for the 2011 European Championship. Caulker was recalled to the U21s side for the double-header games against Azerbaijan and Israel, in September 2011. and featured in both matches. On 13 January 2012, Caulker was named on Stuart Pearce's shortlist for the 2012 Summer Olympics Great Britain Olympic football team. Having been watched by Fabio Capello during Swansea's 3–2 victory over Arsenal, Caulker was tipped for a call-up to the England squad for their friendly against the Netherlands, in an attempt to tie his future down to England due to his eligibility for Scotland. On 23 February 2012, Caulker was called up for England U21s' 2013 European Championship qualification match against Belgium. Caulker started and scored his first international goal in a 4–0 victory on 29 February 2012.
On 2 July 2012, Caulker was confirmed in Stuart Pearce's 18-man Great Britain Olympic football team squad for the 2012 Summer Olympics, and Caulker made his Team GB debut in the pre-Olympic friendly 2–0 defeat against Brazil. Caulker started all three of Great Britain's group stage matches, including a clean sheet against Uruguay, as the GB team qualified for the knockout stage of the Olympic tournament. Caulker finished the Olympics having received five caps for Team GB, as they were knocked out in the quarterfinals on penalties to South Korea. On 10 August 2012, as part of a new look national team squad Caulker was called up to the senior England team for the first time, ahead of a friendly match against Italy, although he failed to make it onto the pitch.
On 31 August 2012, Caulker was called up to the England U21 squad for the European U21 Championship qualification matches against Azerbaijan and Norway. On 6 September 2012, Caulker scored his second consecutive England U21 goal in the team's 2–0 win over Azerbaijan to ensure qualification to the U21 qualification play–offs. Caulker played the full 90 minutes in both of England's play-off matches against Serbia with England's 2–0 aggregate victory marred by ugly scenes after the final whistle. The mass brawl and accusations of racial abuse, later led to the Serbian police charging 11 people in relation to the mass brawl including Caulker and Leeds United player Tom Lees. On 13 December 2012, Caulker was handed a two-match ban by UEFA due to the incident, although in February 2013 this ban was rescinded and instead Caulker was ordered to do a day of community service. Caulker was included in the England U21 squad for the 2013 UEFA European Under-21 Championship, and played in the first two of England's group matches as the team lost all three of their games and failed to progress to the semi-finals.
On 8 November 2012, Caulker received his second call up from Roy Hodgson to the England national football team for the friendly against Sweden. Caulker started the friendly against Sweden on 14 November and scored a debut goal when he turned in a Steven Gerrard free kick from the right from three yards out. He played the first 74 minutes before being substituted with England winning 2–1, the team eventually losing 4–2.
In November 2013, the Scotland assistant manager Mark McGhee confirmed interest in Caulker, who has a grandmother from the country. As his only England cap was a friendly, he is permitted to change allegiances.
On 5 November 2011, Caulker was arrested for a public order offence after an incident in Swansea city centre. He was issued with a fixed penalty notice and later released. Caulker later revealed that his arrest was for swearing in the street and apologised to the club and his manager Brendan Rodgers for getting caught-up in the late night offence.
- As of match played 28 October 2016
|Club||Season||League||FA Cup||League Cup||Other||Total|
|Tottenham Hotspur||2009–10||Premier League||0||0||—||—||—||0||0|
|Yeovil Town (loan)||2009–10||League One||44||0||1||0||1||0||—||46||0|
|Bristol City (loan)||2010–11||Championship||29||2||1||0||—||—||30||2|
|Swansea City (loan)||2011–12||Premier League||26||0||—||0||0||—||26||0|
|Cardiff City||2013–14||Premier League||38||5||1||0||0||0||—||39||5|
|Queens Park Rangers||2014–15||Premier League||35||1||1||0||0||0||—||36||1|
|Southampton (loan)||2015–16||Premier League||3||0||0||0||2||0||3||0||8||0|
|Liverpool (loan)||2015–16||Premier League||3||0||1||0||—||—||4||0|
- As of match played 14 November 2012
- As of match played 14 November 2012. England score listed first, score column indicates score after each Caulker goal.
|1||14 November 2012||Friends Arena, Solna, Sweden||1||Sweden||2–1||2–4||Friendly|
- Football League Young Player of the Month: November 2010