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Does Bale make the list? Ranking the five players with longest gaps between PL goals

Gareth Bale announced his return to the Premier League with the winning goal during Tottenham’s 2-1 victory over Brighton on Sunday, heading home late on to seal three points for Jose Mourinho’s side.

It was the Welshman’s first goal in the Premier League for over seven years after returning to Spurs from Real Madrid during the summer, his previous strike a last-minute winner against Sunderland in May 2013, just weeks before his world-record move to the Bernabeu.

Following Bale’s match-winning intervention this weekend we’ve decided to look the players with the biggest waits between top flight strikes, here are the five Premier League players with the longest gaps between goals:

Peter Whittingham – 3234 days

Peter Whittingham came through the academy ranks at Aston Villa and won the FA Youth Cup before breaking into the first-team, briefly becoming a regular before falling out-of-favour.

The midfielder made 56 league appearances over five seasons and scored a solitary Premier League goal, opening the scoring in a 3-0 win over Portsmouth in November 2004.

After loan spells in the Championship with Burnley and Derby he joined Cardiff on a permanent basis, becoming a key part of the Bluebirds’ side as they sought promotion, losing in the play-offs on three occasions before finally returning to the top flight after over half a century in 2013.

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Cardiff’s spent just a single season at the top level as they finished bottom of the division with Whittingham managing three league goals, his first of the season – coming in a 1-1 draw at Hull City – ending a wait of almost nine years for a Premier League goal. Whittingham tragically died this year at the age of just 35 after an accidental fall when out at a pub in Wales.

Simon Charlton – 3433 days

Simon Charlton was a regular member of the Southampton side during the early years of the Premier League era, the left-back featuring alongside the likes of Matt Le Tissier and Jim Magilton in a Saints side regularly battling to beat the drop.

Charlton scored just two league goals across a four-and-a-half year spell with Southampton, the last of which seeing the defender open the scoring in a 2-1 defeat at Manchester United in May 1995.

After leaving the Saints three years later he had spells with Birmingham City and Bolton, earning promotion with the latter under the guidance of Sam Allardyce shortly after the turn of the millennium.

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The experienced star moved onto Norwich following their promotion in 2004 and broke his nine-year wait for a Premier League goal against Portsmouth later that year, firing home an equaliser in a 2-2 draw at Carrow Road.

John Oster – 3444 days

John Oster caught the eye of Everton whilst at Grimsby and moved to the Premier League side in the late nineties, making 40 league appearances during his time on Merseyside and scoring his sole goal during a 4-2 victory over Barnsley at Goodison Park in September 1997.

The Welshman failed to truly make the grade, however, and moved on to Sunderland, a period which included loan spells at Barnsley and Grimsby and saw the Black Cats relegated to the Championship.

Short stints at Leeds and Burnley followed before a move to Reading, where he formed part of the side which won promotion to the Premier League with a record 106 points to earn a second chance at the highest level.

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Oster played his part as Reading finished eighth in an impressive campaign, though he scored just once in the league, his consolation in defeat at Middlesbrough ending a drought of 3444 days for a Premier League goal.

Andy Johnson – 3563 days

A graduate of the Norwich academy, Johnson broke into the first-team during a hugely impressive inaugural Premier League season for the Canaries, scoring in a 3-3 final day draw with Middlesbrough during the 1992/93 season as Mike Walker’s team put up an unlikely title challenge before eventually finishing third.

Norwich were relegated just two seasons later and Johnson moved on to Nottingham Forest, racking up over a century of appearances during a yo-yo period for the East Midlands outfit.

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After moving to West Bromwich Albion on a free transfer in 2001 he twice helped the club to promotion, ending his 3563 day wait for a Premier League goal after scoring a last-minute effort against Bolton at The Hawthorns in February 2003.

Matt Jackson – 4935 days

The longest gap between Premier League goals and by some distance, Matt Jackson waited a staggering 4935 days before finding the net for Wigan in November 2006.

Jackson’s first experience of Premier League football came during a five-year spell with Everton during the nineties, scoring four league goals for the club and forming part of the side which lifted the FA Cup in 1995.

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After leaving Goodison Park the former England U21 international had spells at the likes of Charlton, QPR, Birmingham and Norwich before joining Wigan, playing a key part in the club’s rise from the third tier to the Premier League.

Jackson’s history-making moment came as he headed home a winner during a 3-2 victory over former side Charlton, the goal incredibly coming 13 years after his last strike at the highest level.

Read – Five of the oldest players to be sent off in Premier League history

Read Also – Wilshere, Foden, Walcott: The five youngest English goalscorers in Champions League history

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