Every Man Utd Premier League era debut goalscorer, including Rashford, Van Nistelrooy and Rooney and what happened next


MAKING your debut for Manchester United can be a daunting prospect.

But it wasn’t for these stars, who eased themselves into a career at Old Trafford with a debut goal.

In the modern Premier League era, 17 players have managed to pull off that trick.

Who are they and what happened next to them?

Let SunSport tell you all…

Many call Scholesy the best player of the ‘Class of ’92’.

And he didn’t waste any time having an impact in the first team when he made his debut in 1994.

The now retired midfielder followed up a brace against Port Vale in the League Cup with a goal in his first Premier League appearance against Ipswich Town.

Some 11 Premier League titles later and 155 goals for the Red Devils means he’s a legend at the club.

Now he’s an outspoken pundit on BT Sport.

Unbelievably, the Norwegian striker’s career started in the vain that became his trademark.

After signing from Molde in 1996, Solskjaer waited three games into the season to appear from the bench against Blackburn Rovers.

Within six minutes of coming on, he was on the scoresheet and helped his new club earn a 2-2 draw.

Three years later he would come on the field to net the winner in the Champions League final against Bayern Munich in dramatic fashion.

Today, of course, he’s the boss at United.

The Dutch striker hit the ground running the moment he put on that No10 shirt.

After signing for a British record fee of £19million in 2001, expectation was high – even though he was working his way back to full fitness following a serious knee injury.

And brilliant Van Nistelrooy didn’t disappoint, first netting against Liverpool in the Charity Shield, then scoring twice against Fulham.

He scored 150 goals in 219 games for United, and is now assistant manager for Holland and coaches PSV’s U19 team.

Although he started like a house on fire, it didn’t really work out for the French striker at Old Trafford.

Thrust into a debut in 2004 after signing in the January transfer window, Saha made his bow against Southampton.

He took just 18 minutes to register his first goal with a deflected free-kick, and scored six league goals in the run-in as a squad player.

However, he struggled with injures and was sold to Everton in 2008.

What more can you say about Manchester United’s all-time top goalscorer?

At 18, you could’ve predicted that Rooney would end up with that accolade – and his 253 goals in all competitions is a total that’ll take some beating.

After breaking a bone in his foot that hindered England’s Euro 2004 chances, Rooney made the £25.6million move to United.

On his debut in the Champions League, he memorably netted a hat-trick that destroyed Fenerbahce. A star was born.

🗓 28 September 2004
🏟 Old Trafford
🆚 Fenerbahce

On this day in 2004, an 18-year-old Wayne Rooney scored a devastating hat-trick in his first game for Manchester United.

A debut to remember! 🔴 pic.twitter.com/CN9ZQldaSB

An unlikely debut goalscorer – given the attacking talent he played with.

But Argie Heinze became an instant hero with the United faithful when he scored against Bolton on his first Premier League start.

Despite joining his team-mates after pre-season because of his commitments in the Olympics in 2004, he still secured the vote for Players’ Player of the Year.

However, the former PSG star made an enemy of himself when he wanted to leave Old Trafford for Liverpool, before Real Madrid signed him in 2007.

One that even die-hard United fans might’ve forgotten about.

Midfielder Lee came through the youth ranks and was highly thought of at Old Trafford.

He was handed a debut in the League Cup against Crewe Alexandra and scored the winner.

Lee played in the Premier League once against Chelsea, before he released to Oldham.

He currently plays in the Championship for Sheffield Wednesday.

The Italian striker enjoyed one of those fairytale ‘Roy of the Rovers’ moments that rarely happens to footballers.

In 2009, with United’s title ambitions hanging by a thread while losing to Aston Villa 2-1, Macheda was introduced as one last throw of the dice by Fergie.

Cristiano Ronaldo netted a last-minute equaliser, before Macheda scored a wonder goal two minutes into injury time to earn United three points.

Macheda is now banging in goals for Panathinaikos in Greece and linked with a move back to the big time.

#OnThisDay in 2009, a 17-year-old Federico Macheda scored on his debut to put @ManUtd on course for the titlehttps://t.co/aYOhrUGsDp

There wasn’t much expectation when United signed the Dutch full-back that Buttner would threaten the goal sheet.

Strangely, Patrice Evra’s understudy did just that – scoring on his debut against Wigan, jinking past defenders before firing home in 2012.

But Buttner failed to impress fellow countryman Louis Van Gaal, who duly sold him to Dinamo Moscow in 2014 for £4.4million.

Only 31, he’s currently playing for New England Revolution in the MLS.

In the same Wigan game as Buttner, Powell also found the net after a big-money move from Crewe Alexandra believed to be worth £6million.

After the game, Fergie waxed lyrical about his new signing saying he believed he had the potential to fill the boots of Scholes in the future.

However, Powell never added to that goal and was released by the club in 2016.

Currently, he’s at Stoke.

A former Manchester United wonderkid, Wilson was handed his Premier League debut by Ryan Giggs in the 2013-14 season.

And the striker didn’t disappoint against Hull City, scoring twice in a 3-1 win.

But injuries curtailed his progress, and he never managed to recapture that lethal cutting edge he had at youth level.

Wilson is now toiling at Salford City.

Who can forget Martin Tyler’s enthusiasm when Martial scored against Liverpool after coming on as a sub for Juan Mata in 2015?

After all, there was a huge expectation on the-then teenager’s shoulders following a move worth £57.6million.

Since that debut goal the French striker has established himself at Old Trafford as the man most trusted to lead the line for Solskjaer.

📆 #OnThisDay September 12, 2015

Anthony Martial made his Man Utd debut and scored this wondergoal vs Liverpool 🔥pic.twitter.com/gp4ZSo43gj

When Martial suffered an injury in the warm-up against FC Midtjylland in 2016, it meant Rashford HAD to start.

But the former Jimmy Murphy award-winner wasn’t one for feeling stage-fright, netting twice to announce himself to the world.

Rashford then followed that up by scoring twice against rivals Arsenal on his Premier League debut.

He has been one of football’s most charitable stars during the coronavirus crisis, raising £20million to distribute free food to school children.

The Swedish legend was already a world-renowned name when he signed for Manchester United on a free transfer in 2016 from PSG.

And Ibrahimovic became an instant hero, scoring the winner against Leicester City in the Charity Shield.

In his only season in England, the 6ft5in striker scored 28 times in 46 appearances before an injury robbed him of more appearances.

A stint at LA Galaxy was followed by a move to AC Milan. Most recently, he was linked to a move to Serie B side Monza aged 38.


With United preparing for the Europa League final in 2017, a league game against Crystal Palace gave some youngsters a game.

Midfielder Harrop was one of those, and he didn’t disappoint scoring in a 2-0 win over the Eagles.

It was his one and only appearance for the club, before he rejected a deal that summer and signed for Preston North End, who he still plays for.

The giant Belgium striker, currently with Inter Milan, kick-started his career with United in spectacular fashion following his £75million move from Everton.

He scored in the UEFA Super Cup against Real Madrid in a 2-1 defeat.

Then, he hit a double against West Ham at Old Trafford in a 4-0 rout.

But the wheels came off when he fell out of favour under Solskjaer. He ended his career at United with a credible 42 goals in 96 games.

Following a shock move to Old Trafford from Swansea in 2019, which nearly could’ve been Leeds United, James came off the bench against Chelsea on the opening day of this season to score in a 4-0 thrashing of the Blues.

“I don’t think you could write it, really,” James said after the game.

“As soon as I signed here, I dreamed of something like that to happen and it did today. To score on my debut and to win 4-0 at Old Trafford in the first game, no, I don’t think you could (imagine that).”

James came out the traps flying, and scored two goals in his first three appearances for the club.

Since then though, the goals have dried up.


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