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Celebrating the 21 Man United players to score on their Premier League debut

Antony announced himself as an instant fans’ favourite with a debut goal for Manchester United last weekend, with the winger scoring the opening goal in the club’s 3-1 win over Arsenal at Old Trafford.

United will hope Antony’s goal is a sign of things to come from the Brazilian, who became the club’s second-most expensive signing of all time after his £86m arrival from Ajax on deadline day.

 

Following his debut goal, we look at the 21 players to have scored on their first Premier League appearance for Manchester United.

Mark Hughes (1992)

Mark Hughes was the first player to score on his Premier League debut for the club, as he netted a consolation goal in a 2-1 defeat at Sheffield United on the opening weekend of the division’s inaugural season.

Hughes scored 163 goals in 473 appearances across two spells with the Red Devils, either side of stints at Barcelona and Bayern Munich. He was twice named as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year in the pre-Premier League era, before winning two league titles with United following the relaunch of England’s top division in the early nineties.

Paul Scholes (1994)

One of Manchester United’s greatest-ever players. Scholes formed part of the club’s fabled Class of ’92 group, one which progressed from the academy ranks to form the foundation of a side that dominated the first decade of the Premier League under Sir Alex Ferguson.

Scholes marked his Premier League debut with a consolation goal in a 3-2 defeat at Ipswich Town, just three days after marking his first senior appearance with both goals in a 2–1 victory over Port Vale in the League Cup.

Just two players – Ryan Giggs and Bobby Charlton – have ever made more than Scholes’s 718 appearances for the club, in a one-club career that contained 155 goals, 11 league titles and two Champions League winners’ medals.

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer (1996)

Ole Gunnar Solskjaer arrived in the Premier League as a relative unknown in 1996 but wasted little time in introducing himself to the division’s defenders.

Solskjaer scored just six minutes into his first Premier League appearance, as he came off the bench – something that would become a speciality for the Norwegian – to net against Blackburn Rovers on 25 August 1996.

Solskjaer’s £1.5m arrival from Molde proved one of Sir Alex Ferguson’s great bargains, as he scored 18 league goals during his debut campaign. The forward spent a decade with the Red Devils and scored 126 goals in all competitions, none more famous than his stoppage-time winner to win the 1999 Champions League final against Bayern Munich.

Ruud van Nistelrooy (2001)

Ruud van Nistelrooy had been set to complete a move to Manchester United in 2000, but a serious knee injury postponed the deal until the following summer.

The Dutchman proved well worth the wait, as he followed a debut goal in the Community Shield with a brace against Fulham on his first Premier League appearance.

He ended his first campaign as the PFA Players’ Player of the Year after scoring 36 goals, before setting a Premier League record of 44 goals in all competitions during a 2002/03 campaign that saw Van Nistelrooy win the Premier League and the division’s Golden Boot.

One of the best centre-forwards of the Premier League era, he scored 150 goals in 219 games for United and finished as the Champions League’s top scorer three times during his five seasons at Old Trafford.

Louis Saha

Louis Saha’s fine form at Fulham persuaded Manchester United to sign the forward, agreeing a £12.4m deal for the Frenchman in January 2004.

Saha marked his Premier League debut for the club with a goal against Southampton and scored seven times in 12 league games during his first six months at Old Trafford.

Wayne Rooney’s arrival that summer increased competition for places, but Saha remained a valuable member of the squad and won four major trophies during a United career that saw him score 42 goals in 124 appearances.

Gabriel Heinze (2004)

A surprise scorer on debut, the no-nonsense Argentine made himself an instant favourite with a debut goal in a 2–2 draw at Bolton Wanderers in September 2004.

Heinze established himself as the club’s first-choice left-back during a debut campaign that ended with the defender named as United’s Player of the Season. He made 83 appearances across three seasons before joining Real Madrid.

Giuseppe Rossi (2005)

Injuries prevented Manchester United from seeing the best of Giuseppe Rossi, who was regarded as a top talent after arriving at the club as a teenager.

He marked his Premier League debut with a goal at Sunderland, after coming on as a substitute for Ruud van Nistelrooy at the Stadium of Light.

Rossi made just four more league appearances for the Red Devils and failed to score, before departing for Villarreal. The best football of his career came in Spain, as he scored 82 goals in 192 games for the Yellow Submarine.

Chris Eagles (2006)

Despite making his senior debut for the club in 2003, Eagles’ first Premier League appearance did not come until three years later.

He scored his first goal in a 4-2 win at Everton, as he came off the bench to put the result beyond doubt at Goodison Park. It was one of just six league appearances he made for the Red Devils during a career spent predominantly in the lower divisions.

Danny Welbeck (2008)

Has there been a better debut goal for Manchester United than this? Local lad Danny Welbeck announced his arrival with a spectacular strike against Stoke in 2008.

Welbeck joined the club’s academy ranks at the age of six and made 142 appearances after graduating to the senior side, in which he scored 29 goals. He joined Arsenal in 2014, before spells with Watford and current club Brighton.

Despite a modest goal record at club level, he netted an impressive 16 goals in 42 caps for England.

Federico Macheda (2009)

If Welbeck’s goal leads on aesthetics, then Federico Macheda tops this list for importance.

United’s title challenge was in danger of collapse after back-to-back defeats allowed Liverpool back into the race, before the Red Devils trailed at home to Aston Villa and faced three successive losses.

Cristiano Ronaldo’s equaliser brought the sides level, before Sir Alex Ferguson gambled with the introduction of an untried 17-year-old. Moments later Macheda became a household name, scoring a stunning stoppage-time winner to score one of United’s most memorable Premier League goals.

The dramatic winner snatched three points and began a seven-game winning streak that resulted in the Premier League title returning to Old Trafford.

“My life changed that day and it has never been the same since,” Macheda would recall in a 2017 interview with ESPN. “To this moment, it remains the best football day of my life.”

Macheda never fulfilled the expectations that came with his debut goal, but that moment alone ensured he retains fond admiration from the United fans.

Alexander Buttner (2012)

Alexander Buttner was one of two debut goalscorers for Manchester United as the club thrashed Wigan 4-0 in September 2012.

The Dutch left-back was brought in as competition for Patrice Evra but failed to build on a bright start that included a goal and assist in an emphatic win over Wigan at Old Trafford.

Nick Powell (2012)

After impressing at Crewe as a teenager, Powell made the move to Manchester United in 2012. He made an immediate impact with a debut goal against Wigan, but made just one further appearance in the Premier League that season.

He failed to establish himself with the Red Devils and after several loan moves has since had success during spells with Wigan and Stoke.

James Wilson (2014)

An impressive goal record for the reserve side earned James Wilson a taste of first-team action in 2013/14.

Given a chance in the final home fixture of a miserable campaign, Wilson scored twice in a 3-1 win over Hull City. He scored his first with an instinctive effort at the near post and turned in a second after reacting quickest to Marouane Fellaini’s spilled shot.

He made 13 league appearances the following season but added just one more goal, before departing for Aberdeen in 2019 after a succession of loan moves.

Anthony Martial (2015)

Anthony Martial arrived under a weight of expectation in 2015, with United having paid a record-breaking fee for a teenager to sign the Monaco forward.

Little was known of Martial outside his homeland, but he announced himself to the Premier League with a brilliant individual goal against Liverpool at Old Trafford.

In English football’s most high-profile fixture, Martial waltzed around Martin Skrtel before cooly firing home in what United fans hoped was the second coming of Thierry Henry.

It hasn’t quite worked out like that, with fine form mixed with inconsistent performance across seven seasons in the Premier League. Martial – who spend time on loan at Sevilla last season – has scored 79 goals in 270 games and will be hoping to emerge as a central figure in Erik ten Hag’s plans this season.

Marcus Rashford (2016)

Rashford announced his arrival as a Manchester United player in spectacular style in 2016, scoring twice on his senior debut against Midtjylland in Europa League 2016. Three days later – and amid an injury crisis at Old Trafford – he repeated the feat to down Arsenal at Old Trafford.

Rashford netted twice and provided an assist in an entertaining 3-2 win over the Gunners, with the Red Devils delighting in the teenager’s brilliant performance.

Remarkably, Rashford was exactly the same age as Wayne Rooney on the day that they both scored their first Premier League brace, aged 18 years and 120 days.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic (2016)

Zlatan Ibrahimovic signed for Manchester United with a point to prove in 2016, reuniting with former Inter Milan boss Jose Mourinho at Old Trafford.

Any doubts over whether the 34-year-old could handle the rigours of English football were soon ended, as the Swedish superstar marked his debut with a well-taken goal at Bournemouth.

Ibrahimovic’s goal continued his remarkable record of marking debuts with a goal, having scored on his first league starts in England, Italy, Spain and France, and in the Champions League.

Josh Harrop (2017)

Josh Harrop was handed his senior debut for United on the last day of the 2016/17 season against Crystal Palace and opened the scoring in a 2-0 win at Old Trafford.

The goal made Harrop the 100th different scorer for the club in the Premier League, but it was his sole appearance for the Red Devils. After rejecting a contract offer that summer, he joined Preston North End.

Romelu Lukaku (2017)

Romelu Lukaku announced his arrival at Manchester United with a debut double, scoring twice as the club beat West Ham 4-0 on the opening weekend of the 2017/18 season.

The £75m signing from Everton made an instant impression and continued his fine record on debuts, having also scored on his first Premier League appearances for West Bromwich Albion and  Everton.

Lukaku – who spent two seasons with the Red Devils and scored 42 goals in 96 games – became the fourth Manchester United player to score a brace on their Premier League debut, after Ruud van Nistelrooy, James Wilson and Marcus Rashford.

Daniel James (2019)

Daniel James came off the bench to score on his Manchester United debut in 2019, netting the fourth as the Red Devils thrashed Chelsea 4-0 at Old Trafford.

The defeat was Chelsea’s worst ever opening-day defeat in 104 league seasons and James put the finishing touch on the result nine minutes from time, collecting Paul Pogba’s pass before firing a deflected effort past Kepa Arrizabalaga.

Donny van de Beek (2020)

Manchester United’s season began in disaster despite a debut goal from Donny van de Beek in 2020. United were beaten 3-1 at home to Crystal Palace, with Van de Beek’s goal ten minutes from time proving little more than a consolation.

The Netherlands midfielder became the first debutant goalscorer to end on the losing side since Paul Scholes in 1994.

Antony (2022)

Antony became the 21st player to score on their Premier League debut for Manchester United, a fitting goalscorer given the 21 shirt upon his back.

Much excitement has been created following the £86m arrival of the Brazil international, who forged a reputation as one of the Eredivisie’s most exciting talents at Ajax.

He took just 35 minutes to open his account in England, as he collected Marcus Rashford’s pass before firing confidently past Aaron Ramsdale. The goal set United on their way to a 3-1 win over Premier League leaders Arsenal and maintained a four-game winning run under Erik ten Hag.

Read – Premier League weekend: Five things we learned

Read Also – Premier League Team of the Week – Matchday 6

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