James Vaughan announces his retirement from football at the age of 32

Friday, 28 May, 2021 28comments  |  Jump to last

Former Everton Academy striker James Vaughan, has announced his retirement from football at the age of 32, with Tranmere Rovers being his last club.

Birmingham-born Vaughan, who became the youngest man to score a Premier League goal when he registered for Everton against Crystal Palace at the age of 16 years and 271 days in April 2005, has decided to call it a day after a succession of injuries.

Vaughan left Everton exactly 10 years ago to the day, in which time he played for 10 different lower league clubs. Over his entire professional football career, he scored 120 goals in first-team matches.

» Read the full article at The Independent

Reader Comments (28)

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Peter Mills
1 Posted 28/05/2021 at 13:53:56
Good luck to James in the future. I suspect he has suffered at times from injuries which came about from his own enthusiasm and commitment. I always enjoyed watching him.

Two particularly memorable moments were the goal at Goodison mentioned above which brought the house down, and the nerve-wracking fourth penalty against Manchester United at Wembley when he was brave enough to step up to the plate.

Thanks James.

Colin Glassar
2 Posted 28/05/2021 at 14:01:05
He could’ve been an Everton great if it wasn’t for some terrible injuries. The lad had it all, especially heart and courage which is sadly lacking in our current team.
Kevin Prytherch
3 Posted 28/05/2021 at 14:14:25
Unsworths fault
Barry Rathbone
4 Posted 28/05/2021 at 14:16:10
Very talented but lady luck deserted him - crying shame cos he could really play
Thomas Richards
5 Posted 28/05/2021 at 14:27:44

Too much heart and courage for his own good.
The lad never seen a ball he didnt think he could get on the end of.
Out of them all he was the one I wanted to make it.

Tony Abrahams
6 Posted 28/05/2021 at 14:47:29
I will never forget him punching the turf at Bolton, because he knew he couldn’t carry on with the blood actually spurting in the air, through his sock and out of his body.

I forgot about that penalty Peter, but I will never forget the bravery of a young James Vaughan, who always put his body on the line every time he played for Everton.

Danny O’Neill
7 Posted 28/05/2021 at 14:55:52
Agree Thomas. A player who didn't know when to give up the chase. That's a positive negative; you could never question his desire. Possibly down to coaching at the time. We did seem to promote a good corner flag chaser in our forwards then!

There's been lots of debate about academies around various posts on here. For me, this is another example of throwing someone not quite ready into the mix too young rather than let them develop naturally. Be that in the academy, or in the aspired much improved local grassroots we often talk about that is better connected to the academy system. Just let them develop naturally.

I wonder if he (and others) had been identified, monitored but then allowed to develop more naturally and not been exposed to regular first-team football until the age of 22 (ish) would have gone onto better things with Everton over a longer period.

There are very few Wayne Rooney's out there who are ready made at 16. Arguably, even Rooney paid the price for being used too much too young as the legs were gone by 32 as well. Admittedly, some of that was lifestyle on his part.

We should really try to refrain from throwing every promising 16-year-old into the first team at this level. Firstly, the expectation builds unrealistically only for them to be knocked down and slated by the time they are 20.

Secondly, we physically ruin them and burn them out. 32 years old? The lad should have at least another 3 or 4 years in him, especially outside the top tier.

Danny O’Neill
8 Posted 28/05/2021 at 15:19:21
How Guardiola has managed Foden has been a fantastic example.

He ignored previous media clamour to play him more often and only now at the age of 20/21 is he becoming more of a regular. Becoming more of a regular but still used as necessary and in accordance with his development as well as City's needs. Great player management.

Likewise Ferguson with Beckham. Didn't make his debut until he was about 20 and wasn't a regular until later than that.

How you manage these young players impacts their development. And the longer term benefit you get from them.

Dave Abrahams
9 Posted 28/05/2021 at 15:39:14
You couldn’t help liking James Vaughan and his wholehearted playing style, he always reminded me of another young Everton centre forward from long ago, Bert Llewelyn, seventeen, I think when he played for the Blues, in a very poor team, and chased and harried bigger, old and street wise defenders as though his life depended on it, much like James.

That semi final Peter Mills mentioned, aside from the penalty, James had the only decent shot on United’s goal in two hours of play, same as Leon Osman in the semi final against Liverpool after we had taken the lead. I forget who our manager was —————-in both games!!

Michael Kenrick
10 Posted 28/05/2021 at 15:58:59
I don't believe it's playing them too soon, Danny. Surely you can attest to the desire to play as much as possible? And that's when you're happiest and feel your best.

Certainly in Rooney's case, he should have been played a lot more as a youngster, instead of being held back by the Ginger Twat – and to what end? Just pissed him off and confirmed that he had to leave his boyhood club and get away from Moyes in order to progress.

No, the key is injuries. The number of young players who succumb to serious injury is frightening. As I go through the names of all our young playing staff, prepping their profiles, the number who have had serious injuries is simply shocking.

Okay, so it's part of the game... but should it be really? Yea, we want total '110%' commitment and we all love players who do (or did!) those crunching tackles. Of course, that's not the only way they get injured but there must be a happier middle path, with players and coaches educated by better physiological knowledge of their bodies and how to protect them better.

Danny O’Neill
11 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:01:44
I stand corrected Michael and that's a good point. You should not hold true talent back just because of age.

I suppose the point I'm making is that while they are young and developing it's important to manage and use them sparingly.

That's probably more where I was coming from.

Joe McMahon
12 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:07:01
Fear not Kevin, in a few months he'll be able to join Unsworth and the Everton Family coaching team.

The injuries really damaged his potential. He had pace and ability. Real shame.

Michael Kenrick
13 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:13:49
The point with Everton's Academy now is how incredibly hard it is to even get a few minutes on the field, even though they sit out first-team games pointlessly as part of a ridiculous 9- (or 8- or 7-)man subs bench — with one seat completely wasted on a second goalie.

You're for holding them back. I'm all for getting them on the field and seeing how they play. Strange for me that Gordon, Nkounkou and Branthwaite all had some really good moments but Nkounkou in particular has had a ridiculously wasted season sitting on the bench. What good will that have done him? For his crossing alone, he should have been on the field especially when we needed something.

But, oh No... not with our Cautious Carlo. It's better if I stop thinking of this awful wasted season – it just makes me madder and madder!

Thomas Richards
14 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:19:22

They are all obviously ready to play.Even more so given our injuries, reinforcements were needed.

Carlo was ready to play them then looked at thier birth certificates and decided against it.


Michael Kenrick
15 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:55:02
You can clearly read Carlo's mind, Thomas. Not me. I saw them on the bench but almost never selected to play. Didn't you?

But I think I'm pretty safe in saying that Carlo has never ever looked at the birth certificate of any player on the subs bench. I don't think that's how he works.

Or do you know something different?

James Newcombe
16 Posted 28/05/2021 at 16:59:50
I was convinced he was going to play for England in those early days. Happy retirement, James.
Danny O’Neill
17 Posted 28/05/2021 at 17:08:10
I'd never want to hold a player back. Not my footballing instinct or nature.

I just do not like the culture of ruining young players psychologically and physically before they're ready. I go back to my Foden example.

I appreciate that's an extreme as he is outstanding. But Pep has managed him carefully and the lad will benefit from that management longer term as will City. Also, he's trained and played alongside some very experienced players hovering around and surpassing the dreaded 30 year old threshold that some fear. One of the most instrumental string pullers being 36. He will have benefitted from that too.

But then that's the benefit of having a bigger and better squad to introduce these players into rather than throwing them in at the deep end of a patched up or struggling squad and expecting too much too soon & pinning our hopes on them. Very few can deliver on that ticket.

Thomas Richards
18 Posted 28/05/2021 at 17:21:38
You don't need a mind reader Michael.Just logic and common sense.
If they are ready and good enough they play. Simple.

I may have misread you.
Is it your opinion they're held back on age? Or is it ability?

Kieran Kinsella
19 Posted 28/05/2021 at 17:25:23

It's an interesting point you make, and I recall Fergie saying he regretted using youngsters at Aberdeen so much as he felt it curtailed their shelf life. Michael Owen said similar about himself. At the same though, look at James Milner. He has been playing at a high level since he was 16. Maybe he's the exception? Maybe if more kids had more playing time we have a bigger reference pool to know.

Andrew Ellams
20 Posted 28/05/2021 at 17:30:44
Injury fee this lad could have been a megastar. If only his attitude could spread to the current sorry bunch.
Darren Hind
21 Posted 28/05/2021 at 17:57:48
Ahh Vaughany

How could you not love him? Went for too many balls that were never his. A wild thing who played for Everton like most of us would have

Victim of his own desire. If only he could have been managed by some one like - dare I say it - Carlo. somebody who may have been a calming influence

Lots of talent, but by the time he learned to play the game his body wouldnt let him.

It wasnt to be for him, but I will never forget his cheeky bastard staggered walk up for his penalty against the Mancs at wembley before he put it in the postage stamp.

Cherish that memory son. Nobody can ever take it away from You.

I doubt there would be an Evertonian anywhere who would not wish him the very best of luck

Robert Tressell
22 Posted 28/05/2021 at 18:03:53
We've had a few come through with plenty of talent but not enough drive but Vaughan had both, just terrible bad luck. Hope that determination sees him in good stead for what comes next because he's still very young at 32
Paul Birmingham
23 Posted 28/05/2021 at 18:05:19
Gutted for the lad but he gave his all and done his best and such a shame he was plagued by injuries through his career.

For me the Palace goal and the penalty at Wembley in the semi v United in 2009, swagger and style stand out.

Good luck James in the next journey of your life and keep that spirit and belief, you’ll do fine.

Dave Williams
24 Posted 28/05/2021 at 18:32:57
Good luck James and thanks for some good memories
You deserve success in whatever you do next because you are a trier
Lee Courtliff
25 Posted 28/05/2021 at 20:23:52
His celebration after we won that semi-final stands out for me. Good luck in retirement to him, he'll always be fondly remembered.
Ajay Gopal
26 Posted 29/05/2021 at 06:45:46
I wanted this lad to succeed for us so badly, I was gutted when he left our club. I was angry with Moyes for freezing him out in spite of having a couple of decent performances towards the end (if memory serves me right).

Everton for a long time have been crying out for a home grown talismanic player – our own (dare I say it) Gerrard, Owen, Beckham, Grealish, Foden. We have had so many false dawns – hopefully, one of the current crop will come good spectacularly. Calvert-Lewin, although not Everton born and bred, is showing promising signs, but needs to improve hugely. Same for Tom Davies and Mason Holgate.

John Kavanagh
27 Posted 29/05/2021 at 17:51:16
A desperately unlucky player with injuries. I'll always remember the severed artery - just how did that happen without an opposing player using illegal studs? Never seen anything like it before or since anywhere in football. I can only reflect on what a player he could have been but for truly exceptional bad luck.

Anyway, he always gave 100% and maybe tried too hard to impress on occasions. Some of our present dilettantes should be shown a clip of that injury to see what a real injury looks like. And James was desperate to continue!

So good luck James in whatever you do from now on and I'm sure the vast majority of Blues feel the same - you deserve some.

Tommy Carter
29 Posted 29/05/2021 at 20:53:47
I remember a game vs Arsenal where young James dominated their back line and won everything in the air. It was a phenomenal display from a very young player, and one post potentially career ending injury.

He could’ve been an unbelievable player at Premier League level because in terms of guts and effort he was world class, although rough around the edges in terms of technique.

He had a solid career after suffering horrendous injuries. The ruptured artery was particularly bad luck at a crucial time in his development. It’s the kind of injury that never ever happens. But it did to him.

If he goes for the next chapter of his life with as much balls as he did the football chapter then he’ll be an undoubted success

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