Man United, Liverpool… TEN players who became instant stars

Dream debuts, unexpected heroes, surprise stars. We’ve all seen them at our club.

Whether it’s a sixteen-year-old scoring on his debut to a fringe player making a huge impact during an injury crisis, normally they never materialise into anything more than over-expectation and imminent disappointment.

But there are players that have gone on to enjoy glittering careers after making an immediate impact at their respective clubs, whether that be as a youngster or a new, unheard of signing.



It’s a wonderful thing to see a young player become an instant star. The Premier League has seen so many of them over the years, so here are TEN of the best…



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Alan Smith (Leeds United)

Alan Smith (Leeds United)

Shortly after his 18th birthday, Smith scored the equaliser for Leeds in a 3-1 victory over Liverpool at Anfield.

The goal sparked a run of eye-catching performances at Elland Road that eventually earned him a £7million move to Manchester United and 19 caps for England.

He then moved to Newcastle for £6million in 2007, where he continued his impressive form and career for another five years.

Robbie Keane (Wolves)

Robbie Keane (Wolves)

Keane made his Wolves debut in 1997, aged just 17. He scored twice and went on to be the club’s top goalscorer the following season.

In 1999, he earned a £6million move to Coventry, where he scored another brace on his debut. And after an impressive first season in the Premier League, Inter Milan paid £13million to bring him to Serie A. Although his time in Italy last just six months before he returned to England with Leeds in a £12million deal.

It was then that his career really took off and he went on to play for Tottenham, Liverpool and West Ham before eventually going over to the US to play for LA Galaxy.

Alan Shearer (Southampton)

Alan Shearer (Southamtpon)

Alan Shearer announced himself on the stage of English football with a hat-trick on his full debut in a 4-2 win over Arsenal, before he had even signed a pro contract at the club.

He then moved to Blackburn, where he scored 65 Premier League goals in just two seasons to help the club win the title.

Shearer enjoyed the best years of his career at Newcastle, where he continued his goal scoring exploits at a rate that resulted in him becoming the Premier League’s all-time top scorer with 260 goals in 441 appearances.

David Beckham (Manchester United)

David Beckham (Manchester United)

Beckham was lucky enough to come out of the renowned Class of ’92 at Old Trafford and he went on to be the most famous of all of them.

He made the headlines for his goal from the halfway line against Wimbledon in 1996, and from then on he continued to grow both as a footballer and a celebrity.

He went on to be an England hero and played for some of the biggest clubs in the world, including Real Madrid, AC Milan and PSG.

Michu (Swansea City)

Michu (Swansea City)

Michu arrived at Swansea in 2011 as a relatively unknown quantity. The £2million move from Rayo Vallecano wasn’t seen as much of a gamble given the low fee, but everyone soon realised how much of bargain it was.

The Spaniard scored twice and assisted another in a 5-0 win over QPR. He went on to score 18 Premier League goals in his first year in England, resulting in a whole host of top clubs enquiring about his services.

There are clubs out there willing to pay around £20million for Michu off the back of one good season in the Premier League, which shows just how good he is and how much of a bargain he was for Swansea.

Wayne Rooney (Everton, Manchester United)

Wayne Rooney (Everton, Manchester United)

Rooney announced his arrival on the world stage with a last minute winner against Arsenal, aged just 16, to end the Gunners’ 30-match unbeaten run.

A £25million move to Manchester United soon followed and it didn’t take long for him to realise such a hefty fee.

For on his debut for United he scored a hat-trick in a 6-2 Champions League win over Fenerbahce at Old Trafford.

The rest is history.

Theo Walcott (Arsenal)

Theo Walcott (Arsenal)

Walcott rose to fame fairly quickly after making his Southampton debut aged just 16 years and 143 days.

His performances for the Saints earned him a £12million move to Arsenal in 2005, where he has since been a crucial member of the first team.

But it was the surprise 2006 World Cup call up for England that shocked many and put his name on the map. Having never been called up for England previously, a lot of fans and experts alike couldn’t understand his inclusion. He didn’t feature during the tournament, but he has since been a regular for the Three Lions.

Michael Owen (Liverpool, England)

Michael Owen (Liverpool, England)

Owen scored on his Liverpool debut aged just 17 way back in 1997 and he was earning rave reviews from everyone associated with the Anfield club.

He then went on to become a deadly Premier League striker, netting 158 goals in 297 Liverpool appearances in all competitions.

But it was his iconic solo goal for England against Argentina in 1998 that really announced him as a world-class striker.

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)

Christian Benteke (Aston Villa)

The Belgian striker is another one who arrived in the Premier League as an unknown entity.

Despite Villa forking out a total of £7million, many didn’t know what to expect from him. But he made an immediate impact with a debut goal against Swansea and went on to net 19 goals in 34 league appearances during his first year in England.

Injuries have marred his second season, but that hasn’t stopped him being linked with some of Europe’s top clubs.

Romelu Lukaku (West Brom)

Romelu Lukaku (West Brom)

Chelsea paid Anderlecht £17million for Lukaku in 2011, but he struggled to earn a first-team opportunity.

He was loaned to West Brom in the summer of 2012 with not many people knowing what he was capable of in England.

He soon put those doubts to bed, though, scoring 17 Premier League goals that season. But Chelsea still didn’t want him and he’s done a similar thing with Everton this year, netting 14 goals already.

His performances have attracted the attention of Europe’s top sides, although Chelsea have still indicated they are not interested in giving him his chance at Stamford Bridge.