You can bang on about Wayne Rooney eclipsing Bobby Charlton’s England goalscoring record all you like, but the fact is neither of them were able to bow out (and yes, Wayne has bowed out) with that elusive 1.0 strike ratio.
Francis Jeffers and David Nugent may not have the quantity of goals that the likes of Wazza and Sir Bobby boast, but there’s no denying that there’s a certain appeal to a record of one cap, one goal. It’s just neat and tidy aside from anything else.
In club football, though, it’s much less common. Whilst international breaks only come around a handful of times a year – meaning, if there’s a spate of injuries to players in your position, you can find yourself hastily penciled into one squad, before being kicked to the kerb for the next – in the normal 10-month season you tend to get a run in the team if you do well as a fill-in (even if you’re basically a bit rubbish).
To date, there are four players who found the net in their only Premier League appearance – but it’s fair to say that nice-looking strike ratio did little to help them during the rest of their careers.
No? Us neither.
Gary Bull, who signed for relegated, post-Clough Nottingham Forest in 1993, made his only Premier League appearance two years later, netting the winner in a 1-0 triumph over Crystal Palace.
Already in his late 20s, Bull’s goal wasn’t enough to convince his club that he was a genuine, top flight player, and he was duly sent on loan to the lower leagues, where he became something of a journeyman before settling at Boston Town in 2005.
To be fair, he does now hold the distinction of being Town’s highest ever scorer – so there’s that.
Another household name – this time Aidan Newhouse, whose football career rather fell off a cliff after he left Wimbledon in the mid-90s.
At one time though, he was considered a promising England youth prospect, and one who was more than capable of making his mark at Joe Kinnear’s Crazy Gang – one of the more colourful teams of the early Premier League years.
Newhouse netted his only PL goal in its inaugural season in 1992 – also his last ever game in the top flight.
Remember Fulham’s final Premier League season, when they used about 50 players, and twice as many managers (including Felix Magath, armed with some Cottage Cheese)?
Somewhere in all of that madness, Chris David – at one time, a promising young playmaker fresh off the Dutch production line – made his Craven Cottage bow, curling in a dramatic last minute equaliser against Palace.
There is an important caveat to note though: Fulham’s relegation had already been confirmed.
So let those three tales be a lesson for 21-year-old Josh Harrop, the Manchester United winger who scored a sensational goal (and yet again, Palace were the opponents) in his first ever senior game last month.
Whilst he won little praise from Jose Mourinho, who was too busy moaning about the fact that his team had to play at all, Harrop won plenty of admirers from the Old Trafford rafters.
The Stockport-born man will likely head out on loan next season, but beyond that, he has a decent chance of adding to his sole Premier League appearance.
— Josh Harrop (@joshharrop23) May 22, 2017
Lesson: if you’re going to make your Premier League debut, make sure it’s against Palace.