10 One Cap wonders
It’s common to hear folk bemoaning that anyone can get a game for England these days, but many internationals end up being dubbed ‘one cap wonders’.
Securing a debut is one thing, but it’s earning a follow-up that has proven famously elusive for some players.
In a world where Kleberson can win a World Cup medal, but Mauro Icardi has stayed stuck on one cap for three years, sometimes football doesn’t make sense.
Who will win the 2018 edition in Russia? Check out our early World Cup outright tips.
So, that got FootyOn writers thinking – who got the honour of a cap before being left in the cold?
Here is our one cap wonders list starring the good, the bad and the bizarre.
You might also be interested in the opposite end of the spectrum, so view our international centurions.
One, meanwhile, is the loneliest number…
Mike Phelan (England)
Yes, he of the really short shorts worn frequently in winter and Alex Ferguson balloon popping shock fame.
Recently sacked Hull City manager Phelan once turned out for the Three Lions, moustache and all, back in 1989.
Italy were the opponents, but Phelan fluffed his lines as potential goal hero by missing the biggest chance of the match.
Walter Zenga, whose error in net led to the opening, will have breathed a sigh of relief.
But Phelan’s international career never saw the light of day again.
William Prunier (France)
Much-maligned former Manchester United defender Prunier only made two appearances for the Red Devils.
And, with good reason, as the Frenchman remains thought of as one of the worst Premier League imports ever.
Yet, the defensive liability still managed to feature for France way back in 1992 in a, yes you guessed it, loss to Brazil.
Still plying his trade in the North American Soccer League, it looks unlikely Amauri will ever add to his tally.
The Brazil-born striker, now 36, went to all the trouble of obtaining Italian citizenship… just to appear once.
Denied the chance to answer a call-up from Brazil by then club Juventus, Amauri went on to only feature in an Azzurri loss to Ivory Coast in 2010.
Francis Jeffers (England)
Another striker that got stuck on one is ex-England marksman Jeffers, who still holds the record for joint most Under-21 goals.
Everton alumni just like Wayne Rooney, the forward flop would forever be compared to the future all-time top scorer.
Unlucky enough to get his England debut at the same time as Rooney, Jeffers scored in a 2003 defeat to Australia.
Never to pull on the Three Lions jersey again, his unremarkable career petered out at Accrington Stanley.
Paul Butler (Republic of Ireland)
As far as debuts go this has to be one of the most disastrous.
It’s no wonder English-born Butler never built on his bow, as the Czech Republic’s Jan Koller gave him the runaround.
Hauled off at half-time after Ireland conceded two goals, Butler was never spotted in Emerald Isle colours again.
Paul Steiner (West Germany)
Steiner’s case is a strange one, as the defender was surprisingly selected for Italia 90 ahead of more experienced options.
He was taken to Italy on the strength of a brief cameo as a substitute in a friendly against Denmark.
One of Germany’s oldest ever debutants at 33, he never featured as then West Germany went on to win the trophy.
John Kennedy (Scotland)
While some debuts ended in slapstick, this one took a rather more serious turn.
On his bow for Scotland in 2004 then Celtic centre back Kennedy suffered a knee injury that left him sidelined for almost three years.
The grandson of Jimmy Delaney fought back to play again but never full recovered and retired in 2009 aged only 26.
Joe Lapira (Republic of Ireland)
Lapira has become a cult icon and figure of fun for his sole Ireland outing against Ecuador.
The America-born forward with flowing hair was called up from college footy by Steve Staunton in 2007 when the Irish squad were stationed in the US.
It could have been a fairytale, but the then Business Studies student, who qualified through his mother, got just four minutes of game time.
As the first amateur player in over 40 years at that time to wear Ireland’s shirt, his legend lives on.
Lee Bowyer (England)
Bowyer is best known for his time with Leeds United, when he was actually a decent Premier League player.
International outings were hard to come by, however, with opportunities lost thanks to off-field issues.
In his one cap, Bowyer did contribute to the England cause by setting up Alan Smith’s goal against Portugal.
So it was short but sweet for Bowyer.
He was last seen running a carp fishing lake in France.
Andrea Silenzi (Italy)
Who? Nottingham Forest fans should know striker Silenzi after he became the first Italian to ever play in the Premier League.
Oddly nicknamed ‘Big Brush’ for his height, Silenzi was a battering ram frontman and snatched his one cap for Italy in a loss to France in 1994.
Less than a year later he turned out for Forest, for whom he flopped and failed to score a single league goal.