THE WONDERER: Spare a thought for the one-cap wonders

Kevin Davies and Michael Ricketts

Kevin Davies and Michael Ricketts

First published in Sport

WELCOME to the club that no-one wants to join; applications are invited all next week.

Whenever a round of international friendlies come about managers tend to get experimental, and that hikes up the likelihood of a one-cap wonder.

Roy Hodgson has named four newcomers to his England squad in Arsenal's 19-year-old defender Calum Chambers, Newcastle's Jack Colback, Tottenham's Danny Rose and Aston Villa's Fabian Delph.

They are bound to have celebrated the first call-up with an almond milk, or whatever it is that footballers are allowed to drink these days, but the nerves won’t be steadied until they get that phone call from the secretary at the Football Association for a second time.

The list of one-cap wonders for England is an eclectic mix of the unlucky, unfashionable and unfathomable.

Kevin Davies, for example, falls into the first category. The former Wanderers skipper should have been capped well before he turned out in a World Cup qualifier against Montenegro in October 2010 at the age of 33.

His consequent lack of caps was tempered by the fact he got there against the odds.

Unfashionable call-ups crop up most often. Ex-Whites midfielder Gavin McCann falls into that category – his bustling style unlikely to win many fans at international level.

This sub-group includes the men whose game suits the English club game but not necessarily the higher level, Alan Thompson – whose only cap came as a Celtic player, after he had left Wanderers – being a notable example.

It also takes in blasts from the past such as Brian Little, Paul Goddard, Lee Hendrie, Kevin Richardson, Chris Kirkland, Phil Parkes, Mike Phelan, Neil Ruddock, Nigel Spink and Mel Sterland. Ex-Wanderers keeper David Felgate (Wales) and former Whites boss Owen Coyle (Republic of Ireland) might also fit into this category.

But every once in a while there is an international call-up that just leaves you scratching your head.

Michael Ricketts is often joked about in these parts to boast two caps, his first and his last. And we are supposed to be on his side.

Jay Bothroyd, Steve Guppy, Davud Nugent and Matt Jarvis are other examples of the “flash-in-the-pan” international career that was quickly forgotten.

Spare a thought for Burnley’s first-ever England international John Yates, who scored a hat-trick on his debut against Ireland in 1880 and never played again for his country. Albert Allen, Walter Gilliat, John Veitch and Frank Bradshaw also share that dubious distinction.

Wanderers actually boast 14 different one-cap wonders for England, Northern Ireland, Scotland, Wales, the Republic.

The list is as follows: England – Kevin Davies; Michael Ricketts; Johnny Wheeler; George Eastham; JA Turner; A Shepherd.

Wales – Jackie Roberts; James Trainer.

Scotland – Willie Moir.

Northern Ireland – John Napier; Aidan Davison; Walter Hughes.

Republic – Owen Coyle; Keith Branagan.

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