A FORMER Premiership player has been convicted of assault after knocking a girl unconscious in Colchester town centre.

Kevin McLeod grabbed the victim by the head, kicked her legs away and dropped her on the concrete pavement in Crouch Street.

Her head hit the ground she was knocked out.

McLeod, 34, of Collingwood Road, Colchester, has gone from playing in the Premiership for Everton to the dock at Colchester Magistrates’ Court, via two seasons as a Colchester United star in the Championship.

The court heard McLeod had been out in the town on Friday, February 20.

In the early hours of the Saturday morning he, and a girl he was with, went to Crouch Street for a takeaway.

Also by the takeaway was the victim, a young girl, who had also been out.

A discussion took place before McLeod began his attack.

He was later arrested and charged with assault by beating.

He denied the charge, in July.

McLeod claimed he did not touch the victim and instead said she tried to hit him with her handbag.

His version of events was rejected by magistrates who found him guilty during a trial at Colchester Magistrates’ Court last week.

A spokesman for the Crown Prosecution Service said: “At 1.54am in Crouch Street, Colchester, he grabbed her by the head and caused her to fall on the ground when she hit her head.

“He had kicked her feet away.”

Magistrates sentenced McLeod to a one year community order.

He was told to carry out 200 hours unpaid work.

He was also ordered to pay £750 compensation to the victim with £360 in court costs and charges.

A spokesman for Essex Police said: "This was a completely unprovoked attack on a young woman at the conclusion of a night out in Colchester town centre.

"While alcohol clearly played its part in the events of that evening, there is no excuse for assaulting someone.

"Local police in Colchester continue to have high-visibility patrols in the town centre during Friday and Saturday nights in a bid to deter people from committing anti-social or criminal acts."

McLeod was a product of the Everton Youth Academy.

He was a member of the FA Youth Cup winning squad in 1998 playing alongside Leon Osman and Tony Hibbert, who went on to become first team regulars for the club.

McLeod was less successful, although was named reserve team player of the year in 2000/01.

He made a handful of substitute appearances in the Premiership and was a player at the club when the now England captain Wayne Rooney broke into the first team.

Transfers to QPR, for £250,000 after helping the club get into the play-off final. and Swansea followed before he joined Colchester United in 2006.

At the time the club was playing in the Championship and he stayed for two years until 2008 when the club was relegated.

He rejected a new contract and instead moved to Brighton before dropping down the leagues.

McLeod settled in Colchester and played for Braintree Town, Chelmsford City, Thurrock and then Maldon and Tiptree.

Now instead of training with Wayne Rooney he will be carrying out community service.