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Top five sporting debuts

Sports Mole takes a look at five of the most memorable sporting debuts following Rickie Lambert's scoring start for England.

On Wednesday evening, Southampton striker Rickie Lambert made the most of his England call-up by scoring the winner against Scotland just moments after coming off the bench.

He could not have dreamed of a better start to his international career, but is by no means the first sportsman to have had a successful bow. Here, Sports Mole takes a look at five of the best debuts in sport.

1. Wayne Rooney, Manchester United 6-2 Fenerbahce, September 28, 2004

The year 2004 was a pretty good one for Rooney. In the summer he made a £25m move to Manchester United after a summer of speculation, in the process becoming the most expensive teenager in football. He was 18 on debut, but wasted little time proving his value to his new boss Sir Alex Ferguson.

In the end the Premier League season did not go to plan for United, but certainly started well for the young Rooney. On his debut in the Champions League at home to Fenerbahce, Rooney became the youngest player to score a hat-trick in the competition at 18 years and 335 days. For good measure, he also laid on an assist as United routed the Turkish side 6-2.

Wayne Rooney of Manchester United celebrates his second goal with Ryan Giggs during the UEFA Champions League Group D match between Manchester United and Fenerbahce SK at Old Trafford on September 28, 2004© Getty Images

2. Michael Clarke, 151 for Australia vs. India, October 7, 2004

In 2013, a world-class Australian cricketer is tough to find. The current captain Michael Clarke appears to be the last remaining ember of a team so dominant throughout much of the last decade. With players such as Adam Gilchrist, Matthew Hayden and Shane Warne the Aussies at the time won many more than they lost.

However, they have historically had a tough time against India, particularly on the sub-continent. Someone, though, had forgotten to mention this to Clarke in October 2004 when he came out to bat on his Test debut in Bangalore.

Clarke was already a regular in the one-day international team and, despite Test cricket being a different animal, he took the attack to India to score a magnificent 151. What's more, it helped his team to victory in an ultimate series win.

3. Jurgen Klinsmann, Sheffield Wednesday 3-4 Tottenham Hotspur, August 20, 1994

The long-running rivalry between England and Germany had been reignited by the press ahead of Klinsmann's debut for Spurs following his summer move. The newspapers as well as the Wednesday crowd had given the German stick for his alleged tendency to dive. However, he was not to be deterred and his reaction instantly made him a Spurs cult hero.

Not only did he bag a really well taken header to cap off a perfect debut in English football, Klinsmann had the ingenuity to hit back at all the derogatory comments by hurling himself to the floor in celebration. This self-deprecating celebration makes his debut stand out as one of the most memorable.

4. David Nalbandian, Wimbledon 2002

It is incredibly rare in the world of tennis for a player on his first appearance in a particular Grand Slam to go all the way. It so nearly happened for a then 20-year-old David Nalbandian at his first appearance at Wimbledon in 2002.

Nalbandian had played his way into becoming the top-ranked South American player, but was still a rank outsider when Wimbledon came around as the 28th seed. It was not easy going for almost the entire tournament, as the Argentine took four or more sets in four of his seven matches.

In the end, the top seed Lleyton Hewitt was just too much for Nalbandian and he was unable to cap a memorable Wimbledon debut with the victory that would have made it perfect.

5. Fabrizio Ravanelli, Middlesbrough 3-3 Liverpool, August 3, 1996

A Premier League debut is never the easiest and Ravanelli had it particularly tricky for the unfancied Middlesbrough against Liverpool. However, his performance made it look as though Ravenelli had played in the English top flight for his whole career.

He had signed for Boro in the summer in a big-money £7m move from Serie A giants Juventus and the initial outlay looked to have been paid back immediately with an emphatic penalty levelling the scores.

The White Feather was called into action twice more. Once with a real poacher's effort celebrated in typical Italian fashion to level at 2-2 and a third equaliser to cap off a quite remarkable debut to give his side a share of the points.

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