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Nightmare starts: Six of the worst football debuts after Hart howler

| 13.09.2016

Lee Gormley | September 12, 2016

Six nightmare debuts after Hart’s howler

After Pep Guardiola brought in goalkeeper Claudio Bravo from his former club Barcelona, Joe Hart was sent to Serie A club Torino on loan, as the Catalan coach felt his lack distribution skills did not fit his new look Manchester City side.

England v Iceland - UEFA Euro 2016 - Round of 16 - Stade de Nice

England’s number one followed on from where he left off at Euro 2016, flapping at a cross on his debut for Torino, which resulted in an Atalanta equaliser.

Following his torrid maiden appearance, here are six other nightmare starts at both club and international level…

Asmir Begovic

Having arrived at Stamford Bridge to replace the previously long-serving Petr Cech and compete with Thibaut Courtois, Chelsea’s new shot stopper Begovic endured a debut to forget, as he conceded four times on the way to a 4-2 defeat by New York Red Bulls.

The Bosnia and Herzegovina goal guard replaced the Blues’ number one keeper Courtois at half-time, as they were leading 1-0 through a Loic Remy strike, but his first outing ended in disaster as they ran out eventual losers in America.

Relive Begovic’s Blues bow blunders:

Rio Ferdinand
After forking out over £18m to West Ham United for the services of Ferdinand in 2000, Leeds United were hoping for big things from their new defensive acquisition, but proceedings began poorly.

Walking out against Leicester City to the chants of ‘what a waste of money’, the defender’s evening took a turn for the worst, as he endured a shocking performance which saw Leeds go 3-0 down after 30 minutes.

Soccer - FA Barclaycard Premiership - Leeds United v Charlton Athletic

The Whites managed a consolation goal and Ferdinand did overcome his terrible debut in Yorkshire, later going on to become a serial winner with Manchester United (9/2 with Coral to win the Premier League).

Jonathan Woodgate
Possibly the worst debut ever. Former England international Woodgate was a surprise signing at the Bernabeu in 2005, and his maiden appearance against Athletic Bilbao didn’t give Real Madrid a lot of hope for his career in Spain.

Having spectacularly headed the ball past Iker Casillas and into his own net, as well as picking up a first-half cautioning, the helpless defender’s nightmare debut was capped off by a red card just after the hour mark.

Woodgate’s awful reign in Spain wasn’t helped by his earlier injury set-backs, having just come back from many serious lay-offs.

Watch the former Middlesbrough centre back’s Real red card here. Look away Jonathan.

Wayne Bridge
Having left Manchester City to seek regular first-team action at Upton Park in 2011, Bridge looked completely void of ability in his debut with West Ham United.

The former Chelsea defender was given the run-around for both of Arsenal’s opening goals and eventually conceded a needless penalty.

Soccer - Barclays Premier League - West Ham United v Arsenal - Upton Park

Slaven Bilic will hope for better from his current crop of Hammers, who are 8/1 for a top six Premier League finish.

Chris Iwelumo
At the age of 30, Iwelumo must have believed his international chances were gone, but against Norway in a crucial World Cup qualifier in 2008, the frontman replaced James McFadden with 35 minutes remaining.

With time ticking away and Scotland needing a goal, Iwelumo had the chance to make himself a national hero, but from only three yards out, he managed to miss the target.

See the striker’s shocking miss here.

Emmanuel Frimpong
The former Arsenal midfielder was expected to carve a top career for himself in London, after a 10-year youth spell at the club, but departed in 2014, following several hapless loan spells.

Soccer - Sky Bet Championship - Wigan Athletic v Barnsley - DW Stadium

South Yorkshire outfit Barnsley was the Ghana enforcer’s next destination, but he instantly caused a stir, stating on his arrival: “How am I gonna draw girls now?”

Although, staying on the pitch proved a tougher task than maintaining his off-field antics, as Frimpong’s debut lasted less than half an hour, seeing two bookings for a couple of rash challenges on the same player.


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Lee Gormley

Lee joined the Coral team in 2014 after studying at Leeds Trinity University, having moved across the water from Ireland, and has plenty of industry experience from his time with various news outlets in both England and Northern Ireland. After graduating with a BA Honours degree in Sports Journalism, he has since become an important member of the talented sports desk, passionately covering boxing, football and snooker, among many other sports. Lee is also a massive Manchester United and Republic of Ireland fan, but curbs any bias during his work, and outside of his job can be found regularly taking part in sport himself, such as boxing, GAA and football.