James Vaughan, an Everton prodigy who peaked too soon.
You know, it’s occurred to us that we don’t often see players who have broken records at a club – typically, youngest ever to do something or another – ever really “make it” or at least go on to pursue a career at their professional birthplace.
Take James Vaughan, for example. To this day he remained the youngest ever play to score for the Toffees at 16 years and 270 days, a record which has stood for 14 years and counting. Yet he never really managed to build on this early success and make any sort of meaningful impact with the club in the following years.
Indeed, with Vaughan’s heroics sailing off into the annals of time, he managed just a single sub appearance the following campaign, and what turned out to be an already a disastrous season was made considerably worse by a serious knee injury he picked up while playing with the England under-19s.
To be fair to the lad, he fought back and years later he contributed some truly special moments, including the killer blow in a 3-2 thriller against AZ Alkmaar in the UEFA Cup – their first defeat on home soil in 32 years. But for all the excitement he produced in his formative years, the hot and cold performances which came later were simply not good enough to land him a permanent spot in Everton’s hall of fame.
The word “nomadic” just about sums up Vaughan’s career after leaving Everton with just nine goals in 61 appearances. From Leicester City to Crystal Palace, Norwich City, Huddersfield Town, Birmingham, Bury and beyond (including a horrifyingly poor stint with Sunderland in which he netted just twice in 27 appearances) the Englishman simply didn’t do enough to secure himself a permanent spot at any of his clubs for more than two years.
And after he finishes with Portsmouth, where his loan terminates at the end of May 2019, James Vaughan will be without a club after Wigan rejected the opportunity to renew his contract. And to be quite honest, we’re not surprised – 2 goals in 19 games is woeful.
Everton fans, what are your standout memories of James Vaughan? Let us know in the comments below…
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