Quite frankly, and you can ask any professional footballer this, there is nothing that can match the feeling of scoring on your debut. Whether it be a picture book volley that rasps in from 35-yards or a scuff over the line with your shin, there is nothing to rival seeing that net ripple for the first time.
Now imagine that sensation and multiply it by 100. That’s what it’s like to bag one on your first appearance in the cup. In years gone by the League Cup has been graced by some sensational strikes and career defining goals from players making their début in the competition. If you think compiling a list was hard, try whittling it down to a top 10!
Robbie Fowler – Liverpool
Debut goals are always the most memorable and Fowler’s maiden strike for Liverpool against Fulham in 1993 was the launch pad for one of the club’s greatest ever strikers. A brilliant left foot volley that saw him steal in at the far post embodied the predatory talent that would turn Fowler into an Anfield legend
Darren Bent – Ipswich Town
Despite being part of the team that lost 4-1 to Newcastle in 2001, the first senior goal of Bent’s Ipswich career provided a glimpse of his penalty area instinct and showcased the ruthless composure that would become his trademark in later years.
Paul Scholes – Manchester United
Scholes’ debut double against Port Vale in 1993 provided the lift-off for his Manchester United career at the tender age of 19. His first was a brazen dink over the oncoming goalkeeper, a finish of incredible composure and maturity that belied his tender years.
Owen Hargreaves – Manchester City
Having been released by Manchester United following an injury-hit spell with the club, Hargreaves signed for rivals City on a free transfer in 2010. He marked his debut by bending in a stunning free kick against Birmingham in the League Cup. Unfortunately that’s as good as it got at the Etihad Stadium for the ex-England midfield.
Jonathan Woodgate – Tottenham Hotspur
Having joined Tottenham from Middlesbrough just a month earlier, Woodgate probably couldn’t believe his luck when he made his League Cup debut against Chelsea in the 2008 final. It got even better for the former England defender when he headed in the winning goal at the second attempt from Jermaine Jenas’ free kick four minutes into extra time to hand Spurs their first trophy in nine years.
Robin van Persie – Arsenal
Arriving at Arsenal from Feyenoord as one of Europe’s hottest talents, van Persie was handed his competitive debut against Manchester City in October 2004 and showcased his goal scoring potential straight away. Without even needing a touch the then 21-year-old forward lashed home a superb first time strike from a Cesc Fabregas pass – the first of many in a Gunners shirt.
Fernando Torres – Liverpool
In his early days at Liverpool goals were like clockwork for Torres and his hat-trick against Reading on his first ever League Cup game proved why he was one of the world’s greatest strikes in his heyday. The first of three goals on that September night was vintage Torres, holding off the challenge of Andre Bikey and effortlessly finishing past Adam Federici.
Andy Cole – Blackburn Rovers
After accepting that his Manchester United career was over Cole moved to Blackburn in December 2001 and collected a League Cup winner’s medal just a few short months later. In fact the final was his maiden appearance in the competition for Rovers and his first goal, a typically instinctive finish 22 minutes from time, delivered the cup to Ewood Park for the first time in the clubs history.
Kieran Richardson – Manchester United
Despite ultimately failing to cut the mustard at Old Trafford, Richardson’s Manchester United career started promisingly. Making his League Cup debut against Leicester in late 2002 the exciting 17-year-old scored in the 90th minute with a gorgeous diving header to cap off a 2-0 win.
Obafemi Martins – Birmingham City
When Obafemi Martins joined Birmingham on loan in January 2011 it was unlikely he envisaged scoring the goal that would bring the League Cup back to St Andrews. But that’s exactly what he did, coming off the bench and capitalising on a mistake by Wojciech Szczesny and Laurent Koscielny to tap the ball into an empty net and secure the trophy they last won back in 1963.