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On This Day… 28th March

28 March 2020

On 28th March 2007, a 21-year-old David Nugent scored on his senior debut for England!

Nugent had been in good form for England U21s during his first spell at Deepdale and was called up to the senior squad for the first time by Steve McClaren for England's games games against Israel and Andorra.

Nuge made his debut off the bench in the Euro 2008 qualifier against Andorra with just over ten minutes of the game remaining, Steven Gerrard had given the Three Lions a two goal lead before Nugent scored from close range in the 90th minute to mark his debut with a goal for his country.

It was a proud moment, not only for Nugent and his family, but for all associated with North End as the striker became the first PNE player since Sir Tom Finney to represent England while playing for the Lilywhites.

Speaking to the PNE Podcast earlier this season about getting his senior call up, Nugent said: "I remember the game, we were playing Ipswich at home, I always scored against Ipswich when I was first at Preston, always! I was coming up to the game and I was thinking 'yeah, guaranteed a goal here', and I remember the manager calling me in, it was Paul Simpson at the time.

"He said Steve McClaren was coming to watch me and it's probably the worst thing he could have done because I was rubbish in the game, it was 0-0 and I couldn't control the ball and I think the pressure just got to me.  

"I wish he had never told me because I probably would have had a better game but I still managed to get the call up and it was just weird, I had a secretary ringing me from the English FA to say I had been called up to the national team and I couldn't believe it, I thought it was a joke.

"I then got the message through on my phone with a time and meeting place, saying I was going to get picked up by a car which would take me to London for the game and it was just surreal. I couldn't believe it, I was playing in the Championship and managed to get my call up. I had a lot of the players I was playing with to thank really because playing with them, they got me through it."

On his first experience with the squad, he continued: "John Terry was the captain at the time and I remember turning up to the hotel, I was a nervous wreck, I was only a young kid. I had played a lot of football for the U21s before that but when you see John Terry standing at the door waiting to let you in, I didn't really know what to do.

"I was a quiet lad back then and on the trip I was just trying to keep myself to myself really but JT was ledge, he showed me around the hotel, where the kit was, where your boots are, where the massage room and where dinner was, he looked after me pretty well so I thank him for that. It was just a surreal two weeks I had with the squad."

For today’s look back on season’s gone by on the 28th March, we also find a familiar voice making his PNE debut and a Mali international ending his time at Deepdale.

That voice, which you will regularly hear these days on BBC Radio Lancashire, is Colin Greenall. The centre half making his debut in a lilywhite shirt on this day in 1992.

Colin, whose time at Deepdale was beset by injury, joined the club from Bury, before moving onto Chester 15 months later.

Now a Lancashire FA employee, Colin made 29 league appearances for the Lilywhites, scoring once before his move to The Seals, where he would win promotion and player of the year in the 1993/94 campaign.

We haven’t had too many French-born Malian footballers in our 140-year history, but the one name that trips off the tongue is of course Habib Sissoko!

The forward ended a tempestuous five weeks with North End with his final appearance in a 1-1 draw with Wigan Athletic on this date in 1998. The Mali international was sacked after an onfield altercation with a team-mate.

He joined the club in February 1998 from CS Louhans-Cuiseaux, making his league debut, as a second half substitute for Kurt Nogan, in a 1–1 draw away to Wycombe Wanderers on 21st February. He played seven times for the club before his release, heading to Scotland where he joined Aidrieonians in the summer.

Back in the 1920s, Norman Robson, a centre forward from 1927 to 1930, made his debut for North End on this date in 1927.

Robson scored a remarkable 30 goals in only 42 appearances without really being a regular first choice. Overall, he scored 45 career goals in only 97 senior games for his three league clubs.


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