GK - Neil Finn (West Ham, 1996)

The nature of goalkeeping, and in particular the life of a backup keeper, means there were plenty of single appearance makers that could have filled this position. But who better to lead a crowded house than Neil Finn?

Finn was just 17 when injuries to Ludek Miklosko and Les Sealey meant he was thrown into first team action on new years day 1996, for an away match at Man City. Still to this day the youngest goalkeeper to play in the Premier League, Finn performed creditably in a 2-0 defeat, which makes it surprising that this was not only his only PL appearance, but his only outing in professional football.

Finn returned to the academy, and reached the 1996 FA Youth Cup final alongside Rio Ferdinand and Frank Lampard among others. He was released by West Ham in 1998, and after a spell with Aldershot, dropped out of football for six years before resurfacing in the Essex Senior League with Romford.

Other candidates: Tony Caig, César, Matt Murray, Gunnar Nielsen.

DF - Martín Cáceres (Southampton, 2017)

Versatile defender Cáceres is a veteran of over 100 caps for Uruguay, has won Copa America, as well as six Serie A titles with Juventus, and the treble with Barcelona in 2009. With this pedigree it's hard to understand why he made so little of an impact at St. Mary's. His injury record may provide a clue - he left Juventus in the summer of 2016, having averaged around 15 games a season, and had spent the first half of the season without a club, before joining the Saints in February. 

Cáceres was signed as cover for the injured Virgil van Dijk, but by the time he had reached match fitness, Jack Stephens had cemented his place, leaving the Uruguayan on the sidelines. Cáceres finally appeared for the first team in May, where he performed creditably in a 2-1 win at Middlesbrough, but was unsurprisingly released at the end of the season. He left England with a medal though, having been named on the bench in the League Cup final defeat to Man Utd.

Cáceres returned to Italy, with spells at multiple clubs, including a brief spell at Juventus, and a successful two years at Fiorentina. He currently plays in MLS for LA Galaxy.

DF - Jan Eriksson (Sunderland, 1997)

England's defeat to Sweden in Euro 92 is well remembered for several things: Tomas Brolin's wonder goal, Graham Taylor's decision to substitute Gary Lineker in what proved to be his last cap, and the headline "Swedes 2 Turnips 1", after the result led to England's elimination.

Less well remembered is Sweden's first goal, a bullet header from defender Jan Eriksson which equalised David Platt's opener. It was Eriksson's second goal of the competition, after he'd scored the tournament's opening goal, a near identical finish in a 1-1 draw with France. Sweden, the hosts, would reach the semi-finals, and it says a lot for Eriksson's performances that among this golden generation he was named as Sweden's player of the year for 1992.

Still based domestically with Norrkoping, Eriksson earned a move to the Bundesliga after the tournament, joining Kaiserslautern. Injuries restricted his appearances, however, and caused him to miss Sweden's successful campaign at the 1994 World Cup, effectively ending his international career. With his appearances further restricted by limitations on foreign players in the Bundesliga, Eriksson returned to Sweden in 1995, joining AIK Solna on loan. After a brief spell with Servette in Switzerland, he spent 1996 with Helsingborg, before Peter Reid signed him to bolster Sunderland's first Premier League campaign.

After a few matches on the bench, Eriksson made his debut against Aston Villa, where he was unfortunate to deflect Savo Milosevic's first half shot into the net. After a memorable team-talk from assistant manager Bobby Saxton at half time, Eriksson completed the match, but wouldn't play competitively for Sunderland again. This is all the more remarkable for the fact that he remained at the club for the following season, but still couldn't get a look in, with the club in the second tier. At the end of the season, Eriksson moved to MLS, joining his compatriot Thomas Ravelli at Tampa Bay Mutiny, before retiring due to injury in 1999.

DF - Lee Martin (Man United, 1993)

Part of Alex Ferguson's first group of Man Utd youth products, left-back Martin broke into the first team in the 1988/89 season, and would score one of the most important goals of Ferguson's reign, the winner in the 1990 FA Cup final replay against Crystal Palace. Like much of that generation, though, Martin found himself sidelined by the time the Premier League - and United's dominance was under way. The signings of Denis Irwin and later Paul Parker pushed him further down the pecking order, and he was left out of the squad for the Cup Winners' Cup and League Cup finals in 1991. Martin had only made one appearance in the pre-Premier League season, and didn't play at all as United won their first title in 26 years. In October 1993 he finally made his Premier League bow, against Everton, but this proved to be his last league outing for the Red Devils.

Martin's near-12 year spell at Old Trafford came to an end in January 1994, when he joined Cetlic, then a club at a low ebb with Rangers dominating. He broke his leg shortly after arriving, and this restricted him to just 19 league appearances in two and a half seasons at Parkhead. Spells with Bristol Rovers and Huddersfield followed before he retired in 1998.

Another Lee Martin, a midfielder born in 1987, would later come through Man United's youth team, and also made 1 PL appearance, against Hull on the last day of the 2008/09 season.

Other candidates: Ferdinand Coly, Glauber, Keith Hill, Gary Mills.

MF - Lucas Piazon (Chelsea, 2012)

They love a loan don't they, Chelsea? Nearly 29 players were loaned out by the blues at some point last season, many not for the first - or last - time in their Chelsea careers. Loaned out players tend to fall into one of four categories: disappointing big name signings (e.g. Romelu Lukaku), inexplicable signings (Baba Rahman), homegrown players (Mason Mount), and most commonly of all, promising signings from abroad. These players join Chelsea full of potential, and are repeatedly loaned out for first team experience until someone notices that they're 28 now and should probably move on.

Brazilian winger Lucas Piazon is one of the most notable examples of this. Signed from Sao Paulo as a 17 year old in 2011, he was promoted to the first team squad the following season, by Roberto di Matteo. He made two appearances in the early rounds of the League Cup, before making his PL debut - now under Rafa Benitez - as a substitute for Juan Mata against Aston Villa two days before Christmas. Chelsea were already 4-0 up, and Piazon helped them double this lead, setting up a goal for his compatriot Ramires. He also won - and took - a penalty, but it was saved by Brad Guzan, preventing the match from joining the pantheon of 9-0 Premier League wins.

In January, however, Piazon was loaned out - to Malaga - and this set the tone for the rest of his Chelsea career. Upon returning, he was loaned out to Vitesse (of course), then Frankfurt, Reading, Fulham (for two seasons), then spent the first half of the 2018/19 season back at Chelsea without playing. He joined Chievo for six months on loan in January, then Portuguese side Rio Ave on a two year loan. This was cut short in January 2021 when Braga signed him permanently - ending his nine and a half year Chelsea spell eight years after his last appearance. He remains contracted to Braga, although has spent the last year-and-a-half on loan back home, with Botafogo.

MF - Christian Negouai (Man City, 2004)

Like Jean-Pierre Papin, Christian Negouai is a Frenchman who began his career in Belgium, but unlike Papin, he has played Premier League football - albeit without seeing much action. Signed by Kevin Keegan to bolster Man City's promotion hopes in November 2001, Negouai played five times on the way to the first division title, scoring once, seemingly punching a Stuart Pearce cross into the net against Rotherham.

Negouai's season came to an end in February, however, as knee injuries kept him out of action for the best part of three years. His only appearance in the next two seasons came in a UEFA Cup match against TNS in August 2003, in which he scored the opener in a 2-0 away win. His next outing came fourteen months later, when he replaced Trevor Sinclair in a League Cup defeat to Arsenal and his Premier League debut finally arrived on Boxing Day, as an 80th minute sub for Jon Macken at Goodison Park.  It would last all of three minutes. Negouai lunged at Everton's Marcus Bent, and was shown the red card - he remains, to this day, the only player to be sent off in his only Premier League appearance.

After a final cameo against Newcastle in the FA Cup, and a one game loan with Coventry, Negouai returned to Belgium with Standard Liege, where he set a happier record: his goal against Westerlo, after 11 seconds, is the fastest in Belgian league history. After this, he spent a short time in Norway with Aalesund, then back in Belgium with the Pro-Evo sounding FC Brussels, before injury forced him to retire in 2006, aged 29.

MF - István Kozma (Liverpool, 1992)

Bad Liverpool signings of the early 1990s can largely be put into two categories: big name misfits like Nigel Clough and Julian Dicks, and more left-field purchases like Jimmy Carter and Torben Piechnik. Perhaps the most unusual of all, though, is Hungarian midfielder István Kozma, signed by Graeme Souness from Dunfermline in February 1992. Kozma had signed for the Fife-based club in 1989, and represented quite a coup, a full international joining from French giants Bordeaux. He was a star at East End Park, enough to cement his status as a club legend, and enough to catch the eye of then Rangers boss Graeme Souness.

A year into his spell as Liverpool manager, Souness was offered the chance to bring in a foreign player, but turned it down. Believing Eric Cantona to be a disruptive influence he didn't need, he instead chose to return to Scotland to bring Kozma across the border. The step up proved too much for the Hungarian, not helped by Liverpool's inconsistency in both results and team selection, and his appearances for the reds were rare, and unremarkable. 

Kozma's best outing for Liverpool came when he replaced Phil Charnock at half time in a League Cup tie against Chesterfield in September 1994. The Spireites took a 3-0 lead at Anfield, but two assists from Kozma helped Liverpool secure a 4-4 draw, turning a major humiliation into a moderate one. Four days later, he made his last Liverpool appearance, as a late sub for Mark Walters in a similarly dismal defeat to Wimbledon. This marked Kozma's only Premier League appearance, and he left at the end of the 92/93 season, returning to Hungary after being denied a work permit.

MF - Richard Witschge (Blackburn, 1995)

Part of one of the great generations of Ajax youth products, in this case the late 80s cohort that included Dennis Bergkamp and the De Boers, Witschge was, in many ways, the classic Dutch footballer: technically gifted, but unafraid to speak his mind. It's no surprise then, that Johan Cruyff was a fan, and consequently Witschge was the only player he brought with him to Barcelona (Koeman, who had also played for Ajax, spent three years with PSV in between). Witschge spent two years as part of Barcelona's dream team, but was hampered by the limit on foreigners. Only three were allowed, and with Koeman, Michael Laudrup and Hiristo Stoichkov, it's unsurprising that Witschge was often the odd man out, as he was for Barca's 1992 European Cup win.

In 1993, Witschge left for Bordeaux, but eventually fell out with the coach over tactics, and was available when his lookalike Kenny Dalglish was looking for midfield cover in spring 1995. With Jason Wilcox out injured, Witschge was intended to provide cover, and played in a 2-0 defeat to West Ham, but Dalglish clearly wasn't convinced and pushed Graeme Le Saux forward for the rest of the season. Despite his limited contribution, and apparent distaste for the town - he had made the classic 90s import move of slagging off Blackburn and its people to the press back home - he wasn't shy of joining in the celebrations when Rovers lifted the Premier League title.

Witschge was able to resurrect his career with Bordeaux, and was part of a strong team - including Dugarry, Lizarazu and Zidane - who won the Intertoto Cup and made it all the way to the UEFA Cup final. By then, the next Ajax generation had dominated Europe, and were being picked apart by Europe's giants, so they brought Witschge back to help with the rebuild. He remained at Ajax for seven years, aside from one year on loan at Alaves, after a falling out with coach Co Aadrianse. After a brief spell in Japan with Oita Trinita he retired in 2004, and, like every other ex-Ajax player you've heard of, has since worked in the club's coaching setup.

Richard's elder brother Rob was also a footballer, playing in much the same position. Both went to two international tournaments, although never together: Richard went to Italia 90 and Euro 96, while Rob was selected for Euro 92 and USA 94.

Other candidates: Karim Bagheri, Jonathan Benteke, Kevin Ellison, Mineiro, Phil O'Donnell.

AM - Yildiray Bastürk (Blackburn, 2010)

There aren't many players whose peak can be so precisely identified as Yiliday Bastürk's in 2002, and most who can were also part of the Leverkusen squad at the time. Part of the Turkish diaspora in Germany, the diminutive playmaker made his first Bundesliga appearances with VfL Bochum, a club who were in the midst of one of the best periods in their history: at the time they signed 20 year old Bastürk from city rivals Wattenscheid, they had just finished 5th, and had qualified for the UEFA Cup. 

After four successful seasons at Bochum, Bastürk made the short journey to Leverkusen in 2001. Bayer 04 were assembling a superb squad, and the team - led by Michael Ballack, with Brazillians Lucio and Ze Roberto, and Bulgarian forward Dimitar Berbatov, among others, had their best ever season, competing for a treble. They would live up to their “Neverkusen” nickname though, finishing runner-up in each competition, notably to Zinedine Zidane's wonder goal in the Champions League final, a match that Bastürk started.

Yildiray had made his international debut for Turkey four years earlier, and played in all seven games at the 2002 World Cup, the Turks' best ever tournament performance, in which they took home the bronze medals. Such was the year that he'd had that he came 9th in voting for the Ballon d'Or. 

Inevitably Leverkusen began to lose key players, largely to Bayern Munich, but no-one could have predicted how badly they would do in 2002-03, finishing just one place above the relegation zone. The club bounced back the following season, finishing 3rd, but Bastürk was less involved and left the club in summer 2004, to join Hertha BSC. 

Bastürk was Hertha player of the year in his second season, and in 2007 joined VfB Stuttgart, who had surprised everyone by winning the Bundesliga title. After a decent first season, injuries began to take hold, restricting him to 9 appearances in the 2008/09 season. Having only played nine minutes in the first half of the following season, his contract was annulled, and Sam Allardyce - who had a good reputation for transfer coups - bought him to Blackburn Rovers on a short term deal. It wasn't to be, though; Bastürk started a match against Wolves, but was taken off at half time for David Dunn, and wouldn't be seen again. Let go at the end of the season, he retired a year later, having spent the season as a free agent.

Other candidates: James Coppinger, Bojan Djordjic.

ST - Gary Bull (Nottingham Forest, 1995)

You can't discuss single Premier League appearances without mentioning a certain legendary striker's cousin. Or was he his cousin?

I'm sure I remember Gary Bull being reported as the brother of Wolves legend Steve (is this a false memory? Comment below), but it turns out they are merely cousins. Regardless, the younger Bull made his name as the star striker of the Barnet team that was promoted to the league in 1991. Bull, who had earlier played for Cambridge United, settled back into league football immediately, and was named in the fourth tier team of the season for 91/92 and 92/93. The latter campaign ended in promotion for the Bees, but financial troubles meant that most of the squad was to move on in summer 1993. Many followed manager Barry Fry to Southend, but Bull got a better move, joining recently relegated Nottingham Forest. Injuries restricted him to a bit-part role as Forest returned to the Premier League as runners-up, and by January 1995, he had yet to make an appearance in the top division. His chance came when Stan Collymore called in sick for a home game against Crystal Palace, and he took it, scoring his first, and only, league goal for Forest with a close-range strike from a corner.

This proved to be Bull's last appearance for Forest, and, after a loan spell at Brighton, reunited with Barry Fry at Birmingham. Spells at York and Scunthorpe followed, before he dropped into the East Midlands non league scene. Ten years after his Premier League appearance, 39 year old Bull joined Boston Town, where he would play until he was 45, scoring over 200 goals.

Bull is one of four players to have scored in his only Premier League appearance. Of the others, Fulham's Chris David and Man United's Josh Harrop, also did so against Crystal Palace, while the first, Aidan Newhouse - who we've covered before - did so at Selhurst Park for Wimbledon.

ST - Marco Branca (Middlesbrough, 1998)

Somewhat forgotten amongst the exotic signings of the Steve Gibson era, Italian striker Marco Branca nonetheless made an impact during his brief spell on Teesside. Branca came to Middlesbrough - then in the second tier - with a strong pedigree, having been a reliable goalscorer for over ten years when the league was at its height.

As was the style of the time, Branca had moved around a fair bit, and it was with three separate spells at Udinese that he made his name. In between these he had a season at Fiorentina, and prior to this, two non-consecutive seasons with Sampdoria, in which he won the Coppa Italia (87/88) and Serie A (90/91), usually as backup to the legendary Mancini-Vialli forward line. 

After a successful 93/94 season with Udinese, moved to Parma, at a time when Parma really were Parma. As a result they weren't short of decent forwards, but Branca, being a more out-and-out striker than the club's other talents (Asprilla, Brolin, Zola), got a decent amount of opportunities, although he was on the bench for both legs of their UEFA Cup final win against Juventus. At the end of the season, he was on the move again, to Roma, and this was to be the best season of his career - although not in the capital. In November 1995 he joined Inter, swapped for Marco Delvecchio, and scored 17 goals in 24 seasons for the Nerazzurri before the end of the season. This form earned him his highest international honours - out of contention for the Italy senior team due to the wealth of attacking talent available, he was selected for the 1996 Olympic squad as an overage player, and scored four times in the tournament, only for Italy to be eliminated in the group stage.

With rules against foreigners restricted, Inter were beginning to really spend though, and the arrival of Ivan Zamorano meant that Branca found himself on the bench. The following season Inter upgraded again, signing Ronaldo, and in February 1998 Branca left the club, joining his former team-mate Gianluca Festa at Middlesbrough.

Branca's impact at the Riverside was immediate. He made his debut in the second leg of the League Cup semi final against Liverpool, and scored a late goal which saw Boro through to the final. He then scored twice on his league debut, a derby against Sunderland, and added seven more goals in his next eleven games. Boro were to lose the League Cup final against Chelsea - managed by Branca's old team-mate Vialli - but did earn promotion back to the Premier League as runners-up.

Unfortunately, by then things had already turned sour for Branca. In mid-April, he was taken off early against Man City with torn knee ligaments, a season - and potentially career - ending injury. His one Premier League appearance came in an attempt at a comeback, as a sub for Hamilton Ricard in a 3-0 win at White Hart Lane in September 1998. Injuries persisted, though, and Boro opted to cancel Branca's contract on medical grounds, a move which led to acrimony between the player and the club, as he - not fully agreeing with the decision - sought compensation for lost earnings. Either way, he did leave the club, and did play again, with brief spells in Switzerland with Luzern and back in Italy with Monza, retiring in 2001. 

After retiring, Branca became Inter's chief scout, before being promoted to technical director in 2005. He would spend nine years in the role, during which the club won five Serie A titles, and, in 2010, the Champions League.

Other candidates: Dong Fangzhuo, Theofanis Gekas, Joe Sheerin, and yes, Ali Dia.