Flashback – Five of the best EPL debuts

by Tommy Doleman

Sergio Aguero impressed everybody last night when his appearance on the hour mark as a substitute proved to be the catalyst for what ended as a comfortable 4-0 win for Manchester City against Swansea at Eastlands. It was an unforgettable debut from the Argentine with a fine cameo, scoring two goals and creating a fantastic assist for David Silva’s goal. This had Tommy Doleman thinking of other players who have made an impact first up and he’s picked out five of his most memorable (in no particular order). Feel free to post your own memorable debuts at the bottom of the page.

JURGEN KLINSMANN – TOTTENHAM – 1994/95

The German striker was one of the highest profile signings of the 1994/95 season and quickly made his mark in one of the most memorable introductions ever. Having previously been given bad press for simulation Klinsmann celebrated his first goal in style, a header from Darren Anderton’s cross, by launching into that classic diving celebration. Another goal followed as Tottenham edged Sheffield Wednesday 4-3 before going on to score 21 goals, winning the Football Writers player of the year award.

FABRIZIO RAVANELLI – MIDDLESBROUGH – 1996/97

Having completed a seven million pound switch to Teesside from Champions League winners Juventus in 1996, Ravanelli soon established himself as a cult hero at the Riverside. Fans only had to wait 20 minutes for the ‘white feather’ to win and score a penalty after opponents Liverpool had taken an early lead on the opening day. He pegged Liverpool back twice more to complete his hat-trick and rescue a point for his side in a highly entertaining 3-3 draw. Despite the excitement of the opening day, ‘Boro were eventually relegated from the Premier League despite making both cup finals.

ALAN SMITH – LEEDS UNITED – 1998/99

Leeds United were a goal down at Anfield when youngster Alan Smith was introduced in place of Clyde Wijnhard and scored with his first touch in front of the Kop. After a surging run towards the area from Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink, the ball broke to Smith who smashed home to pull his side level and live every youngsters dream. Hasselbaink went on to score two typically emphatic goals to seal a come from behind 3-1 victory for the Yorkshire side. Since leaving Leeds, Smith’s career has somewhat stalled.

MARIO STANIC – CHELSEA – 2000/01

The Croatian was one of the many foreigners to grace the pitch at Stamford Bridge and while his career in England was pretty forgettable, his goal against West Ham will be remembered as one of true brilliance. It appeared that there was no danger when Stanic received the ball from distance, but he controlled, juggled twice and hit an unstoppable 35 yard volley that left Hammers goalkeeper Shaka Hislop without a chance. He scored a second as the Blues went on to win the match 4-2.

RUUD VAN NISTELROOY – MANCHESTER UNITED 2001/02

Price tags often create high expectations especially when you’re a goalscorer but Ruud Van Nistelrooy proved he wasn’t overpriced at 19 million pounds when he tucked away a debut double against Fulham at Old Trafford. Having gone 2-1 down, Manchester United’s new Dutchman banged home two goals in four minutes to complete a terrific turnaround and by season’s end he finished with 23 league goals and the Players player of the year award.

Author Info

Tommy Doleman

Tommy Doleman is a freelance football journalist based in Perth, Western Australia. He has a keen eye across all matters in football but has a strong penchant for the going's on in the Football League. He's a Leeds United fan with a soft spot for Sheffield Wednesday and also a fan of Perth Glory in the A-League.

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3 Responses

  1. Liam Corbett Liam says:

    I’d say Rooney’s debut Hat Trick for Man Utd in the champions league, probably trumps Alan Smith’s goal.

  2. Tommy Doleman says:

    Yep, that was one of the best debuts I’ve ever seen. I’ve just kept this to the EPL though. I’ve gone for mainly the foreign types as they usually “take time to adjust” and it’s relevant as there was that same talk about Kun before he shone. Smith was a youngster and basically lived every young footballers dream of scoring in front of the kop with his first touch.

  3. Michael says:

    But Tommy that might be what every young footballer dreams of but over a certain age our dreams change. As fans we want to get one over on our rivals, and do it in style, in which case I point you towards the debut of Stanley Victor Collymore for Bradford City against local rivals (and a team from near where Smith was born) Leeds United.

    Stan was picked out by a superb Benito Carbone cross and leathered an overhead kick in before charging to the away end who had been giving him grief to celebrate.

    Now that is what football fans dream about.

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