League Cup: Superstar platform

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The League Cup in all its various incarnations over the years may have decreased in importance to the elite clubs in this country, but remains a great educational tool for the game's next superstars.

This week will see teams compete in round two of the now called Capital One Cup, and managers will be keen to use the competition to give young players important first-team experience.

Many of the star names in today's game initially made their names in the League Cup, and GMF takes a look at some of the most prominent players to have done so...

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney was promoted to the Everton first team for the 2002-03 season following his goalscoring exploits in the club's run to the FA Youth Cup final the previous campaign.

Aged 16, Rooney made his league debut on August 17 before netting his first two senior goals in the League Cup triumph over Wrexham on October 2.

Seventeen days later, Rooney scored the last minute winner against Arsenal in the league - one of most iconic strikes.

Cesc Fabregas

Cesc Fabregas made his Arsenal debut in a League Cup tie with Rotherham United on October 23, 2003 and in doing so became the club's youngster ever first team player at 16 years and 177 days.

This record was broken by Jack Wilshere almost five years later, and the Arsenal midfielder can also claim to have forged his name in the League Cup.

Fabregas, meanwhile, also became Arsenal's youngest ever goalscorer when he netted in the 2003-04 season, as the Gunners hammered Wolves 5-1 in same competition.



Robin van Persie

Robin van Persie already had a burgeoning reputation when he arrived at Highbury in the summer of 2004, with Arsenal having beaten of extreme competition to capture the youngster from Feyenoord.

The striker made his debut for the Gunners in the Community Shield defeat of Manchester United in August, but had to wait until late October for his first Arsenal goal.

This, of course, came in the League Cup, with Van Persie scoring the opener in Arsene Wenger's side's 2-1 defeat of Manchester City.

John Terry

John Terry is a veteran of two League Cup winning Chelsea teams - with triumphs in 2005 and 2007 - and will always look on the competition fondly, given he made his first-team debut in the same event.

The Chelsea captain came on as a late substitute against Aston Villa in October 1998 as the Blues won 4-1, while his first start came some three months later in the FA Cup.

Terry has since made a further 546 appearances for the Blues, winning 13 major honours during his time at the club.

Jamie Carragher

Only one player has made more appearances for Liverpool than Jamie Carragher, with the 34-year-old have played over 700 times for the Anfield club.

Carragher made his Liverpool debut as a second-half substitute for Rob Jones in the League Cup semi-final in 1996, and has made a further 32 appearances in the competition.

The centre-back has been a League Cup winner on three occasions - in 2001, 2003 and 2012 - and has lifted the famous trophy more than any other in his collection.

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