5 most memorable Premier League debuts of 2019
The past year brought about several eye-catching debuts from players young and old, appearing for the first time donning their club colours, brimming with pride and determined to make an impact in their first appearance. 2019 was a big stepping stone for many players in the Premier League who made the jump from the academy to the first team. The league has been lush with players with budding talent who have made their own little niche of history with their impressive debuts this season. With 2019 turning to 2020 we take a look at the most memorable debuts this past year in the Premier League.
#1. Matthew Longstaff - Newcastle United
19-year-old Matthew Longstaff made his Premier League debut for Newcastle United against Manchester United at St.James' Park and what a debut it was. Longstaff slotted alongside his brother Sean in Newcastle's midfield as they went about covering the pitch tirelessly showing fierce tenacity, unending industry, and a solid work ethic. They won the battle against United in the middle of the park and as the game neared its end in the last 10 minutes, Longstaff was found in space at the top of the box, about 25 yards out receiving a cut back from his teammate and left-back Jetro Willems. As the ball made it's way to the young Englishman, amongst the flickering floodlights at St.James' Park the moment was there to be seized, his eyes lit up and he had only one thing on his mind, to let fly first-time. Longstaff unleashed a powerful drive with his right boot and beat David de Gea to hit the back of the net with power and precision. The goal stunned United fans and sent the Newcastle fans into delirium. It was enough to secure the win for the Geordies and it was a truly memorable moment and debut that Longstaff will cherish for his entire life.
#2. Daniel James - Manchester United
Daniel James could not have asked for a better debut story than the one he created in 2019. The 21-year-old Welsh winger came off the bench in Manchester United's opening game of the season against Chelsea to put in a stellar cameo performance and netted his first United goal. United ran riot against the Blues in a 4-0 rout by the final whistle, but James' moment would be one that he would remember forever. Receiving the ball in the box from Paul Pogba after an intelligent run, James hesitated at first but managed to get his shot away and it deflected off Emerson to roll into the Chelsea net. The young Welshman emotionally dedicated his debut goal to his late father and capped off an impressive Manchester United win.
#3. Reece James - Chelsea
Reece James slotted in at right back for Chelsea against Newcastle United in October 2019 after Frank Lampard showed his faith in the young 19-year-old. The youngster impressed on his debut keeping it tight at the back and offering an outlet of attack down the right flank and he was a constant menace for the Newcastle defence. He showed that he is tenacious and strong in making challenges and capped off his impressive debut game with an assist for Michy Batshuayi's goal late on in the game.
#4.David Martin - West Ham United
A touching story along with a debut was one that played out for 33-year-old David Martin in goal for West Ham United against Chelsea. The old stalwart goalkeeper made his Premier League debut for the Hammers following in the footsteps of his father Alvin Martin who played as a defender for West Ham for 598 games, staying with the club for 21 years, winning the 1980 FA Cup. With his father Alvin in the stands, David Martin made a number of top class saves to deny Chelsea a goal in the game at Stamford Bridge after Aaron Cresswell scored what would be the only goal of the game for West Ham. Martin kept a clean sheet, fell to the pitch overcome with emotion and then ran into the stands to embrace his father with tears in his eyes. Speaking in a post match interview Martin said,
"I'm so pleased to get through it. I didn't let anyone down and actually enjoyed it at the end. For my dad to see that here, for me to make my debut for a club he played for over 21 years and keep a clean sheet — and get a win for the boys — it's just a fantastic feeling. It was a bit embarrassing with the tears and all. We went to speak to each other then just went 'Urgh' and both broke down. It was great to share it with him."
#5. Tariq Lamptey - Chelsea
Another Chelsea academy product that shone brightly on his debut was 19-year-old Tariq Lamptey. Chelsea were 1-0 down to Arsenal and Frank Lampard sent the young Lamptey on at right back to defend against Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang, who was a constant menace for the Blues and who scored the goal for Arsenal. The youngster Lampte put in an assured performance and kept Aubameyang at bay for the entire duration of time he spent on the pitch without putting a foot wrong. He also made a few darting runs setting up chances for Chelsea. After he came on the pitch Chelsea mounted a comeback and ended up winning the game at the Emirates with two late goals. It was a memorable game for Lamptey who played it cool, calm and astutely despite playing against a difficult opponent and a top team in Arsenal.
Modified 05 Jan 2020, 16:30 IST