Mudryk, Ronaldo, Yakubu and the greatest Premier League debuts ever
Chelsea fans across Africa and beyond were enthralled by Mykhailo Mudryk’s debut against Liverpool on Saturday as he lit up a stodgy 0-0 draw after being introduced by Graham Potter.
The Ukraine international’s cameo was dazzling, with his footwork, technical prowess, dribbling and pace all catching the eye as James Milner in particular struggled to contain him.
It was certainly a stunning Premier League debut—promising so much more to come—but how does it compare to these all-time outstanding PL debuts?
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#18 James Vaughan
Milner’s uncomfortable afternoon against Mudryk may be one of the last memorable outings of his storied Prem career, but once upon a team he was the youngest goalscorer in the Premier League.
His record was broken by Vaughan who, at the age of 16 years and 271 days, marked his first ever appearance for Everton by coming off the bench to score against Crystal Palace.
It was a stunning debut, as the Toffees ran out 4-0 winners, but it was arguably as good as it got for Vaughan, who’s currently Sporting Director at fourth-tier Tranmere Rovers.
#17 Odsonne Edouard
Goals haven’t always been easy to come by for Edouard in the Premier League, but he certainly wasted little time in opening his account.
The striker required just 27 seconds to net his first Prem goal after bring introduced as a substitute for Crystal Palace at home against Tottenham in September 2021.
He added a second nine minutes later to make goalscoring in the top flight look easy, but has only managed seven Prem goals since.
#16 Ruud van Nistelrooy
Injuries meant van Nistelrooy had wait to make his debut for United, but he ultimately marked his first showing for the club with a lovely dinked effort to equalise against Fulham, who had taken a shock 2-1 lead at Old Trafford.
Two minutes later, with the Cottagers reeling, he finished calmly inside the box to make it 3-2, living up to his reputation as a goalmouth poacher of the finest order.
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#15 Luis Suarez
A masterpiece of deadline day business by Liverpool in January 2011, Suarez required just 16 minutes to open his account for the Reds after coming on for Fabio Aurelio in a Premier League game against Stoke City.
Suarez’s goal—coming in front of the Kop—was the start of a genuine love affair between the Uruguay superstar and Reds fans.
#14 Robbie Keane
A few eyebrows were raised when Coventry City parted with £6 million—a veritable fortune at the time—to sign Keane from Midlands rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers in the summer of 1999.
Keane, still only a teenager, was unfazed by the transfer fee, however, and marked his debut for the Sky Blues with both goals as they saw off Derby County.
Internazionale would sign the Republic of Ireland international from Coventry, ensuring the Sky Blues doubled their money in the process!
#13 Alan Smith
Ex-England international Smith scored with his first touch in the Premier League, requiring just three minutes to net a cool finish past David James as Leeds United dispatched Liverpool 3-1 away in November 1998.
Just 18 at the time, Smith didn’t quite evolve into the lethal centre-forward he once appeared destined to become, but did enjoy a long career with the likes of Manchester United and Newcastle United.
#12 Alan Shearer
Still sitting atop the all-time Premier League goalscoring charts, Shearer was a relentless goalgetter in the top flight with Southampton, Blackburn Rovers and Newcastle United.
He marked his debut for Rovers with a brace, making his intentions known after securing a £3.3 million transfer from the Saints, by netting twice on the first day of the season against Crystal Palace.
It was the first day of Premier League football since the league’s inception, and the two goals were the first of Shearer’s 260 in the PL era.
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One of the greatest one-season wonders in Prem history, Michu scored 22 goals across all competitions for Swansea City after moving to the Welsh club in 2012.
Two of those goals came on his Prem debut, as Queens Park Rangers were ravaged 5-0 by the Swans as Michael Laudrup’s tenure at the club got off to a dream start.
#10 Anthony Martial
The most expensive teenager in history when he signed for Manchester United from AS Monaco for a fee that could rise to £57.6 million, Martial silenced doubters by making an immediate impact against Liverpool.
He came off the bench and duly netted United’s third in a 3-1 victory over their fierce rivals, curling the ball beyond Simon Mignolet after dribbling past three Reds defenders.
It was a superb early impact from Martial, who enjoyed a fine debutant campaign at Old Trafford, but who has struggled for form since.
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#9 Jurgen Klinsmann
Perhaps the celebration was more famous than the performance here, but there’s no denying that Klinsmann started life at Tottenham Hotspur in some style following a shock summer move from AS Monaco.
He’d had a hand in both of Spurs’ openers as they took a 2-0 lead against Sheffield Wednesday at Hillsborough, and later added another for his new club when he headed home Darren Anderton’s excellent cross.
Klinsmann, who had been accused of diving by the English media during the 1990 World Cup, promptly celebrated with a theatrical slide along the turf, showing he could take a joke and endearing himself to the press in the process!
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As we know, Yakubu loved a goal or two. He terrorised Premier League defences for the likes of Portsmouth, Everton and Middlesbrough, and—as the chant goes—feed the Yak and he will score.
His debut for Blackburn was also something special, as Arsenal were unable to contain him and he duly bagged twice as the Rovers ran out 4-3 winners.
It was an outing that Blackburn fans will be unlikely to forget, particularly as they’ve rarely had it so good in the intervening years.
#7 Paulo Wanchope
Wanchope was something of an obscure addition to Derby County’s ranks when he was signed for £600,000 from CS Herediano in 1997.
Premier League fans soon knew what he was capable of, however, as he marked his debut with a sensational slaloming effort against Manchester United—beating four defenders before lashing home beyond Peter Schmeichel—as the Rams stunned the Red Devils 3-2.
Unpredictability was the order of the day for the Costa Rica international.
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#6 Marcus Rashford
Thrust into the starting XI for a game against Arsenal due to an injury crisis at Old Trafford, Rashford repaid Louis van Gaal’s faith immediately with a sensational individual showing.
The Gunners had no answer to his direct pace and movement, and the local-born hero marked his debut showing for United with two goals in a 3-2 win for United in front of their own fans.
A star was born…even if Rashford hasn’t always shown this quality in subsequent seasons.
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#5 Federico Macheda
Macheda ultimately didn’t go on to enjoy the United career that Rashford has, but he certainly did enjoy his 15 minutes of fame in the 2008-09 season.
Again promoted prematurely due to an injury crisis, Macheda was introduced to salvage something for United in a crunch bout with Aston Villa, with Ferguson’s side trailing 2-1 at the time.
After Cristiano Ronaldo had equalised with 10 minutes left, Macheda netted a sensational winner—complete with Cruyff turn—in the dying seconds of the match to keep United’s title campaign on track.
He remains a cult hero at the club, even if he didn’t build on that sensational debut.
#4 Danny Rose
Another stunning Tottenham debutant, Rose was an unlikely addition to the starting line-up when Spurs hosted Arsenal in April 2010, with injuries forcing Harry Redknapp’s hand.
Still, he wasn’t ruffled by the occasion, and slammed home an absolute wondergoal after just 10 minutes when he slammed a delicious left-footed volley beyond Manuel Almunia after the goalkeeper had attempted to clear his lines from a corner.
The goal was critical as Spurs claimed all three points en route to Champions League qualification, with Rose remaining with the club until 2021.
#3 Cristiano Ronaldo
Unlike many of the other players on this list, Ronaldo didn’t mark his first Prem appearance with a goal, but like Mudryk, he made fans sit up and take notice with his sensational dribbling ability and delightful footwork.
He demonstrated immense pace and directness after bring introduced by Sir Alex Ferguson as United took on Bolton Wanderers following his £12.5 million move from Sporting Lisbon.
Poor Nicky Hunt was run absolutely ragged by the Portugal wideman, who won a penalty as Bolton failed to contain him, and later played a key part as Ruud van Nistlerooy scored another in a 4-0 rout.
Ronaldo ultimately departed for £80 million, having won the Champions League with United. Will Mudryk be able to look back on a similar impact at Chelsea?
#2 Sergio Aguero
Aguero needed only a half-hour cameo to demonstrate that he was destined for awesome things at Manchester City, scoring twice and setting up another as Swansea City were demolished 4-0.
It was an immediate return on the £38 million City paid for his services, although of course, over the years to come, Kun would comfortably repay that fee!
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#1 Fabrizio Ravanelli
Like Mudryk, Ravanelli also made his Premier League debut against Liverpool, making an instant impact in the top flight after signing for Middlesbrough from Juventus.
The White Feather was irrepressible as Boro drew 3-3 with the Reds at home in August 1996, scoring a hat-trick—each time to equalise after the visitors had taken the lead—and introducing Premier League fans to his iconic shirt-over-the-face goal celebration.
Ravanelli ended his debut season in England with 31 goals in all competitions, but was unable to save the Smoggies from relegation.