Drinkwater added to list of worst league debuts

Aston Villa
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After Danny Drinkwater endured a shocker on his Aston Villa debut on Sunday, which other players have had a day to forget for their new employers?

England international Drinkwater looked to have the world at his feet after playing a major part in Leicester City’s 2015/16 title-winning campaign, but his stock has dropped dramatically since his switch to Chelsea for ¬£35million in September 2017.

After making just 12 Premier League appearances during his debut campaign at Stamford Bridge, the midfielder didn’t feature in a single league game in 2018/19 before he joined Burnley on loan until January last summer.

However, the 28-year-old was plagued by injuring problems during his time at Turf Moor while off-field issues also affected his time in Lancashire, limiting him to just 59 minutes of top-flight football.

Drinkwater returned to Chelsea before joining Villa on loan for the second half of the campaign, bidding to kick-start his career, but his debut could not have gone much worse.

Although lacking match fitness, the Englishman was handed a start in the 6-1 hammering at home to Manchester City on Sunday and he was at fault for the second goal, while he struggled to put pressure on Riyad Mahrez and Kevin De Bruyne for the first and third goals.

Drinkwater will be hoping to forget that performance quickly, but he is not the only player to suffer on debut and we have picked out a couple of individuals who can sympathise with the midfielder.

Jonathan Woodgate

Former England international Woodgate was tipped for great things from a young age and he made his name at Leeds United from 1998-2003, before making the switch to Newcastle United in January 2003 for £9million.

The 39-year-old was a fantastic performer for the Magpies, earning huge praise for his performances, and he was snapped up by Spanish giants Real Madrid in August 2004 for £13.4m.

Due to injury, Woodgate didn’t make his debut for Los Blancos until September 2005 but, unfortunately, his first outing wasn’t worth the wait. On his debut against Athletic Bilbao, the defender scored an own-goal before being sent off for two bookable offences.

The Englishman never managed to recover from that as he only made a further eight La Liga appearances before he signed permanently for Middlesbrough in 2007, having spent the previous campaign on loan at the Riverside Stadium.

Ali Dia

Arguably, one of the most comical transfers of all time came back in November 1996 when Dia convinced then-Southampton manager Graeme Souness that he was the cousin of FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or winner George Weah.

The Senegalese striker was handed a one-month contract days later and made his debut on November 23 when coming off the bench for the injured Matt Le Tissier against Leeds United.

Dia’s performance was so bad that he was substituted himself in the second half, with Le Tissier saying his brief team-mate “ran around the pitch like Bambi on ice; it was very embarrassing to watch.”

The striker was subsequently released by Southampton, 14 days into his contract.

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