United's fastest Premier League debut goals
Daniel James’s first competitive goal for Manchester United came just seven minutes after he arrived on the pitch, as a substitute in Sunday’s superb win over Chelsea.
Our summer signing from Swansea City has therefore gone down in the record books as our joint-quickest scoring debutant in the Premier League era, alongside – funnily, enough – the man who brought him to United, Ole Gunnar Solskjaer.
Here's a reminder of how the boss did it, plus details on four other Reds who got off to a lightning-fast start in the league:
Ole Gunnar Solskjaer v Blackburn Rovers, August 1996 – 7 minutes
The Norwegian, of course, earned himself a reputation as something of a super sub during his 11-year playing spell at United, netting 17 of his 91 league goals for the club after coming off the bench. So, it’s rather fitting that he was in that role when he opened his account, just seven minutes after he was introduced to the Old Trafford faithful. Signed at the end of July, Ole wasn’t included in the squad for our first two games, but he was thrown on with half an hour to play against Rovers, replacing David May with the Reds trailing 2-1. Within moments, a long punt forward by Peter Schmeichel was nodded on by goalscorer Jordi Cruyff and Solskjaer found himself with a clear route to goal. His first effort was blocked by Blackburn keeper Tim Flowers, but Ole made no mistake with his second attempt, lashing the ball home to secure a precious point. The rest, as they say, is history.
Nick Powell v Wigan Athletic, September 2012 – 11 minutes
On a day of milestones for United’s more senior players – Paul Scholes opened the scoring on his 700th Reds appearance, while Rio Ferdinand played his 400th game for the club – Powell made his Old Trafford bow after his summer move from Crewe Alexandra. We were three goals to the good when the 18-year-old was brought on for Ryan Giggs, 20 years his senior, after 71 minutes. The midfielder later admitted to feeling nervous at the prospect of playing in front of 75,000 fans, but he certainly didn’t show it on this sunny Saturday afternoon, running on to a Javier Hernandez pass before belting the ball beyond Ali Al-Habsi to make it 4-0 to United, the same scoreline James brought us to against Chelsea.
Josh Harrop v Crystal Palace, May 2017 – 15 minutes
With the Europa League final in Stockholm looming and United's final position in the table cemented, Jose Mourinho opted to select the youngest Reds side in Premier League history for the visit of Sam Allardyce’s Palace. The average age of our starting XI that day was just 22 years and 284 days and Joel Castro Pereira, Demetri Mitchell and Harrop were all making their first-team debuts. Marshalled by captain Wayne Rooney, who was playing his final league game for the club, the youngsters got off to the perfect start. With just a quarter of an hour played, Harrop was played in down the left-hand side by Paul Pogba. Despite being surrounded by Palace players, the 21-year-old cut inside on his right and superbly found the bottom corner. Pogba added a second minutes later, but the headlines were Harrop’s and the youngster would go down in the record books as one of the few United players with a 100-per-cent goals to games ratio for the club.
Louis Saha v Southampton, January 2004 – 18 minutes
With United once again battling it out with Arsenal at the top of the Premier League, Sir Alex Ferguson opted to boost his firepower by signing prolific Fulham forward Saha during the January transfer window. Thrown in from the start for the visit of Gordon Strachan’s Southampton, the Frenchman made an immediate impact. Despite the presence of a young Cristiano Ronaldo in the Reds’ starting line-up, Saha found himself on free-kick duty and opened the scoring when his effort from the edge of the area took a wild deflection off Kevin Phillips and hit the back of the net. Saha later assisted Scholes for the second in a 3-2 win, and by the end of the season he’d netted seven goals in 12 league games for the Reds.
Anthony Martial v Liverpool, September 2015 – 21 minutes
Not since 1936 had a United player scored on their league debut against our arch-rivals, although Ruud van Nistelrooy netted against the Merseysiders on his first competitive appearance, in the 2001 Charity Shield. After his deadline-day move from Monaco, Martial started our next game on the bench, with Louis van Gaal opting to pick Marouane Fellaini as a lone striker. After a dull first half, United sprang into life with goals from Daley Blind and Ander Herrera. Brought on shortly before the latter’s strike, Martial quickly saw Christian Benteke pull one back for the visitors. What happened next, with the match drawing to a close, has gone down in Old Trafford folklore. Receiving the ball wide on the left, the Frenchman bamboozled Martin Skrtel, shaping to shoot on his right before passing the Slovakian on the inside. With only Simon Mignolet left to beat, the 19-year-old nonchalantly rolled the ball into the bottom corner and ran away to salute the roaring Stretford End.