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Former Everton FC striker James Vaughan on his pride and pain during eventful Goodison spell
Published : 19 Oct 2012 04:00:00
It's ironic that the only injury-related fortune James Vaughan ever enjoyed at Everton was the glut of niggles to senior strikers that allowed him to write his name in the Goodison history books seven years ago.
The striker was just 16 years and 271 days old when he replaced Gary Naysmith at Goodison Park in April 2005 and gleefully fired home the Blues’ fourth goal of a rout against Crystal Palace. That strike three minutes from time made the Birmingham-born teenager both Everton’s, and the Premier League’s, youngest ever goalscorer, both records which still stand today. What followed were the inevitable, and unhelpful, comparisons to another Royal Blue prodigy Wayne Rooney, and in the end Vaughan’s career on Merseyside failed to fulfil that early potential largely due to a rotten run of inopportune injuries which would have prompted lesser men to quit.
“Being Everton’s youngest ever scorer still makes me proud,” says Vaughan, 24, who is now on loan at Championship side Huddersfield Town from Norwich, the club he eventually left Goodison for in summer 2011.
“I grew up at Everton after starting in the academy at the age of six so to do that was a dream. I’d already been on the bench a few times before the Palace game and read in a paper that if I scored I’d break Joe Royle’s record as the youngest.
“When we were 3-0 up on the day I thought I’d get a run out.”
For such a prolific marksman at every level of the club before breaking into the first team, Vaughan only managed seven goals in 47 appearances but some were extra significant.