George Friend


North Devon local George Friend was scouted by Exeter as a boy and, after being convinced to make the regular journey down south, the young defender progressed through the academy until he signed as a professional in March 2006. George initially struggled in his first season, scarcely making an appearance on the pitch. However, he was working hard behind the scenes and, after impressing manager Paul Tisdale, George was handed a start on the first day of the 2007/08 season. A 4-1 win at Altrincham followed and George never looked back, playing in defence and midfield and making 35 appearances for City. George also became the youngest captain in Exeter’s history that season and he started the play-off final against Cambridge United, which the Grecians won 1-0 to return to the Football League to complete the perfect breakthrough year.After playing in City’s first few games of the League Two season, Wolves put in a surprise bid for the full-back and he was off to the Championship, making six appearances as Wanderers went up as champions. Despite starting at Old Trafford against Manchester United, George struggled for game time at Wolves so returned to City on loan, helping the club survive in League One. He went on to permanently join Doncaster and then Middlesbrough, where he remained for eight years and captained the side in the Premier League. He’s now at Birmingham, helping the club battle against relegation from the Championship.