The one-cap wonders: the club of notable and infamous players who made a solitary full international appearance for England, Scotland, Northern Ireland or Wales. At least they can take consolation from the fact that one cap is better than none…

Chris Kirkland


Chris Kirkland made regular goalkeeper appearances for the England Under-21s and was often a full England squad member, but he didn’t get onto the pitch until the match against Greece in August 2006. He came on as a substitute for the second half of the friendly, keeping a clean sheet and making some decent saves. That was his one and only full England cap.

There is an upside however, as his father was part of a syndicate that bet £100 at 100-1 that the 11-year-old Chris would one day play for England, netting them £10,000 each!

Neil Ruddock


Neil ‘Razor’ Ruddock of Southampton, Spurs, Liverpool and West Ham was capped in 1994, playing against Nigeria, and is the first of my one cap wonder hard man defenders.

Razor had his weight problems, drink driving incidents, broke Andy Cole’s legs and had scraps with Cantona and Vieira. All of these reasons could explain why he was only capped once, but not why he was picked in the first place! He’s probably more well-known for appearances on Celebrity Big Brother, I’m a Celebrity and the Jeremy Kyle Show these days.

David Unsworth


Known as “Rhino”, David Unsworth was another “rugged” defender, best remembered for his time at Everton during the 1990s.

Unsworth was part of the England Under-20 squad that finished third in the 1993 FIFA World Youth Championship in Australia. He also played for the England Under-21s seven times between 1994 and 1995.

He was capped by England at full international team level for the 2–1 victory against Japan at Wembley in June 1995 along with other players making their debuts that day, including Gary Neville and Stan Collymore.

After retiring from professional football, he moved into coaching with Preston North End, where he was twice appointed caretaker manager.

He returned to Everton in September 2013 as assistant to Everton U21s head coach Alan Stubbs.

C.B. Fry


A true gentleman player from another era, Charles Burgess Fry, known as C. B. Fry was an outstanding sportsman, politician, diplomat, academic, teacher, writer, editor and publisher. He also reputedly turned down the offer to become the King of Albania. Fry’s achievements on the sporting field included representing England at both cricket and football, an FA Cup Final appearance for Southampton FC and equalling the then-world record for the long jump.

Fry preferred the Corinthian ethos of the amateur game, never relishing the aerial challenges that were more prevalent in the professional game. However, he worked on his headers on the training pitch and achieved his ambition of getting a full England international cap to go with his cricket caps and Oxford Blues in athletics, cricket and football when he was picked to play as a full-back for England against Ireland in March 1901.

He suffered mental health problems in later life, but even well into his seventies he claimed that he was still able to perform his renowned party trick of doing a backwards standing jump onto a mantelpiece!

Bill Nicholson OBE


Bill Nicholson OBE was 18 when he signed as a full professional with Spurs, playing for the first team before he joined the Durham Light Infantry on the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939, which probably cost him half his playing career.

He made his full international debut for England in May 1951, playing against Portugal, and made an immediate impression by scoring with his first touch of the ball after only 19 seconds. That was his sole international appearance as injuries, the predominance of Billy Wright, and the fact that Nicholson put the club that paid his wages before his country meant that he never played for England again. He’s the only player to date to have scored for England with his first touch in international football and never play at that level again.

He was appointed Spurs manager in 1958 and won a string of trophies with them before resigning in August 1974 over the endemic hooliganism and player “greed” that he thought was ruining the sport, although he later returned to White Hart Lane as a consultant. A true gentleman of the football old school, he was awarded the OBE in 1975 and was inducted into the English Football Hall of Fame in 2003 in recognition of his impact as a manager.

Segar Bastard


The memorably but somewhat unfortunately named Segar Richard Bastard was an English amateur football player and referee, born in London in 1854.

Like many of his contemporaries, he was both a player and a referee at the same time, making his debut as an England international player after his debut as a referee.

He played his one and only game for England as an outside right against Scotland on 13 March 1880, Scotland winning the match 5-4.

Joey Barton


Bad boy philosopher and footballer Joseph Anthony “Joey” Barton represented England at Under21 level and was part of the squad for the 2004 European Under-21 Championship qualifiers against Macedonia and Portugal.

Following impressive form at club level, Barton received his first call-up to the full England squad in February 2007 for a friendly match against Spain. This was despite his criticism of some members of the England squad who had released autobiographies after their unimpressive 2006 World Cup in Germany. Barton suggested that players had “cashed in” on the national team’s lack of success. He later received support over his comments, including from Steven Gerrard, one of the players whom Barton had criticised, who praised him for his honesty. Frank Lampard, who had also released an autobiography following the tournament, was less than happy with Joey, however, and publicly stated his disapproval.

Barton made his first and last full England appearance on the 7th of February 2007, coming on to replace the aforementioned Frank Lampard in the 78th minute of the 0–1 defeat to Spain at Old Trafford.

Steve Guppy


Defensive midfielder Steve Guppy had the sort of footballing career that kids used to read about in comics, rising from non-league football with Wycombe Wanderers to becoming a full England international whilst at Leicester City, gaining his sole England cap when he was selected to play against Belgium in October 1999.

Guppy remains the only footballer to have played for the England Under-21, England semi-pro, England B and full England teams, which no small achievement.

Moving to the States, Guppy saw out the remainder of his playing career in the MLS, before going into coaching.
2012 saw Guppy move back to England and reunite with his old boss Martin O’Neill at Sunderland, working as a part-time then full time coach on O’Neill’s staff, before following O’Neill out of Sunderland when incoming manager Paolo Di Canio appointed his own coaching staff.

Lee Hendrie


Despite having Scottish parents, Lee Hendrie was born in Birmingham and represented England at international level, appearing twelve times for the England Under-21s and scoring five goals.

He was 21 when he won his only full England international cap, coming on as a late substitute in the game against the Czech Republic in November 1998.

Hendrie was declared bankrupt in 2012, and he made two suicide attempts as a result of his financial state and depression. A warrant for his arrest was issued when Hendrie missed a court hearing in April 2013. He recently appeared on BBC Three’s Clarke Carlisle documentary Football’s Suicide Secret, where he talked about his experiences.

Lee Bowyer


Lee Bowyer was a regular in the England under-21s during his early years with Leeds United, and his form during the 2000–01 season led to calls for his inclusion in the full England squad. However, Bowyer could only play for England after the FA cleared him to do so, following the conclusion of his court case for alleged assault on Asian student Sarfraz Najeib.

Sven gave Bowyer his senior England debut in a friendly match against Portugal in September 2002, setting up a goal for Leeds team-mate Alan Smith.

Bowyer has held the record for most yellow cards received in the Premier League since 2010.

Michael Ricketts


Bolton Wanderer’s Michael Ricketts scored 12 goals in the 2001-2002 season, including one of the all-time classic Bolton goals against Leicester City at Filbert Street, and “Ricketts for England” was often heard reverberating around the Reebok. Sven-Göran Eriksson must have been listening, as he selected Ricketts for a friendly against Holland in his one and only, excruciatingly inept and embarrassing appearance in 2002.

Ricketts looked not only like a man who had never played with his teammates before but a man who had never played professional football before! Hopelessly isolated and reduced to aimlessly wandering (no pun intended) around the pitch, he saw little of the ball and didn’t make any sort of meaningful contribution to proceedings before being subbed halfway through the game.

To add to Ricketts’ travails, he fell out with Sam Allardyce not long afterwards and was shipped out to Middlesbrough. His career then took a nosedive and he plummeted down through the leagues after succumbing to an ongoing weight problem, ending up at Tranmere Rovers before retiring in January 2010. However, he still remains a cult figure at the Trotters, where he will always be remembered as much for “that goal” as “that England performance”.

Kevin Davies


Continuing the Bolton theme, Kevin (Nice One) Cyril Davies made his sole full England appearance aged 33 and a half against Montenegro in October 2010, coming on as a second half substitute.

After turning down approaches from Scotland and Wales to play for them as an international, he stated that he only ever wanted to play for England. He made three appearances for the England under-21 side between 1997 and 2000 before replacing Emile Heskey in the full England squad. He fared better than Michael Ricketts on the pitch, but his debut proved to also be his last appearance for England.

Davies made 407 appearances for the Wanderers, scoring 85 goals. He joined current club Preston North End in July 2013.

David Nugent


David Nugent has a 100 per cent scoring record for England – one cap and one goal. The fact that he shamelessly poached it off Jermain Defoe, tapping in Defoe’s goal-bound effort from less than a foot out, is irrelevant – at least in the Nugent household!

Nugent played for England against Andorra in Barcelona in March 2007. He is one of just four players to have one substitute appearance and one goal for England, the others being Paul Goddard and Francis Jeffers, Rickie Lambert now having won more than one cap.

Miscellaneous one cap wonders
Other home nation one cap wonders include Wales’ Arron Davies (2006), Glyn Garner (2006), Roger Freestone (2000) and David Felgate (1983); Northern Ireland and Manchester United’s Tom Connell (capped in 1978), Northern Ireland’s Dave Stewart (capped in 1977), Scotland’s Paul Telfer (capped in 2000), Paul Gallagher (2004) and goalkeeper Gordon Marshall (1992); and England’s Anthony Gardner (2004), Michael Ball (2001), Seth Johnson (2000), Andy Gray (1991), Mel Sterland (1988) and Jeff Blockley (1972).