England’s One Cap Wonders XI!
Southampton’s Nathaniel Clyne could make his England debut tomorrow against San Marino.
Roy Hodgson has already handed first caps to over 20 players during his England reign, including the likes of Wilfried Zaha, Jake Livermore and Leon Osman. Clyne will be hoping his international career proves longer than this team of one-cap wonders.
In 2001, Kirkland became British football’s most expensive ever keeper when he signed for Liverpool for £6 million. However, he found his chances limited at Anfield with Jerzy Dudek first-choice. Nevertheless, he was handed an England cap while on loan at WBA – coming on as a second half-substitute against Greece in 2006.
Remember him? No? Gardner was on the fringes at Spurs when Sven Goran-Eriksson handed him his international bow in 2004 against Sweden. At the time, Eriksson was handing out caps like Tesco staff in Burnage doling out Roy Keane books so it was no surprise that he never featured again.
It comes as quite a surprise that Razor only earned the solitary cap, despite being a high-profile figure in the top flight in the mid-90s. Terry Venable gave the hardman his bow in a 1994 friendly with Nigeria but he failed to oust the likes of Tony Adams and Gareth Southgate from a first-team berth.
A Fantasy Football legend, due to his prowess at set-pieces, the former Everton defender also made his only appearance at international level under Venable. He played alongside fellow debutant Gary Neville in a 1995 friendly against Japan. In contrast to Unsworth, Neville went on to win a further 84 caps.
Not to be confused with the “Love Changes Everything” singer, the former Evertonian’s form at Goodison Park merited his 2001 call-up for Eriksson’s first-ever match in charge of the national side. Ball came on at half-time for Charlton’s Chris Powell but never added to his sole cap after a series of injuries.
The former Leicester City winger won his one and only cap under Kevin Keegan in a friendly with Belgium in 1999. Guppy should have been wary – Keegan had previously signed the player for Newcastle United but only played him once. History was to repeat itself at international level.
More famous for unwittingly receiving 40 grand a week at Leeds United, Johnson donned the Three Lions shirt once in a 2000 friendly with Italy. Admittedly injuries hampered his career and he retired at the age of 28.
Despite plenty of on- and off-the-field controversies, Bowyer was a decent midfielder for David O’Leary’s Leeds United and may have won more caps had it not been for an abundance of quality midfielders at Eriksson’s disposal. Bowyer set up an Alan Smith goal in his solo appearance against Portugal in 2002 but was never seen again in an England shirt.
Hendrie also qualified for Scotland and would surely have won more international caps had he have plumped for the Tartan Army. Instead, his England career lasted just 14 minutes – coming on as a substitute in a 1998 friendly win over the Czech Republic.
The archetypal one-cap wonder, Ricketts was scoring for fun for Bolton Wanderers in the Premier League when he got his call-up from Eriksson. In possibly the worst-ever England forward line, Ricketts lasted 45 minutes alongside Darius Vassell and Emile Heskey before his international career came to an end as abruptly as it had started.
The infamous “fox in the box”, who flopped spectacularly at Arsenal, made his one and only England appearance in 2003 against Australia alongside fellow debutant Wayne Rooney. While the latter is on course to become England’s top scorer of all-time, Jeffers’ career went on a downward spiral despite scoring a debut goal – most recently plying his trade at Accrington Stanley. Who are they etc?