Like father, like son
Following in your father’s footsteps can be a difficult task in football, but that hasn’t stopped a number of players from giving it a go over the years.
But which pairs have had the most success? We've run down the top flight’s best dad and lad duos based on their combined appearances...
12. Paul and Darnell Furlong
Dad: 64, son: 3 (total: 67 games)
Paul Furlong made over 100 appearances for non-league Enfield before beginning his professional career in the early 1990s, first spending a season at Coventry before moving on to Watford.
Thirty-seven goals in 79 First Division outings at Vicarage Road helped the striker clinch a move to Chelsea, where he played 64 top-flight matches.
Furlong went on to make more league appearances for QPR than any other side, and it was at Loftus Road that his son Darnell broke through in February 2015. The defender featured three times in the Premier League before Rangers’ relegation a few months later.
11. Gordon and Gavin Strachan
Dad: 96, son: 13 (total: 109 games)
Gordon Strachan spent nine years of his managerial career in the Premier League with Coventry and Southampton, but before then the skilful Scot played in the top flight for both the Sky Blues and Leeds.
A title winner at Elland Road in the final season before the Premier League's birth, Strachan made 96 appearances after the start of the 1992/93 campaign.
Son Gavin hung up his boots in 2011 after spells at Corby Town, Hinckley United and St Neots Town. The former midfielder also has 13 Premier League outings to his name, all of which came when his old man was in charge at Coventry.
10. Gus and Diego Poyet
Dad: 186, son: 3 (total: 189 games)
“There was a family issue,” then-Sunderland manager Gus Poyet said when asked why he didn’t try to bring in his son Diego in 2014. “I’d love to coach him, but at the same time it would be unfair on him. Do you think the players on the bench would accept it if I’m playing my son?”
We may never find out the answer to that question: Poyet Sr. is currently out of work having most recently managed at Bordeaux, while Poyet Jr., formerly of West Ham, is also without a club after leaving Cypriot side Pafos. Former Chelsea and Spurs midfielder Gus contributed 186 appearances, and 54 goals, to the family's Premier League total.
9. Steve and Alex Bruce
Dad: 147, son: 48 (total: 195 games)
Steve Bruce now has his sights set on leading Sheffield Wednesday back to the Premier League, but it’s hard to see him ever replicating the feat of his playing days, when he won three top-tier titles. The former Manchester United defender (a champion in 1993, 1994 and 1996) made 147 league outings for the Red Devils after the First Division’s rebrand.
Alex Bruce, also a centre-back, made his Premier League debut while his dad was in charge of Birmingham, before also featuring for Bruce’s Hull side in the top flight. Now 34, he’s unlikely to add to the 48 games he’s already played at the summit of the English pyramid.
8. Steve and Dan Potts
Dad: 202, son: 2 (total 204 games)
Steve Potts played 24 matches for Dagenham & Redbridge in his final campaign as a pro in 2002/03 but spent the rest of his 18-year playing career with West Ham.
Around half of his outings for the Upton Park outfit came before the Premier League era, but the defender still made 202 league appearances for the Hammers after 1992/93.
Son Dan, 23, was a key part of the Luton team that gained promotion from League Two last season, having joined the Hatters from West Ham three years ago. The left-back only managed two Premier League outings while in London, but he could return to the top tier in future.
7. Ian Wright and Bradley Wright-Phillips
Dad: 213, son: 32 (total: 245 games)
Long before he became an England international and Arsenal’s top goalscorer, Ian Wright was combining part-time football for Greenwich Borough with a job as a plasterer.
Crystal Palace famously traded a set of weights for the forward’s signature in 1985, and Wright went on feature in the Premier League 213 times for Arsenal and West Ham.
Bradley Wright-Phillips went on to establish himself as one of the best strikers in MLS, scoring well over 100 goals for New York Red Bulls. Before that, he represented Southampton, Plymouth, Charlton and Brentford in the Football League. Each of his 32 Premier League appearances came with his first club, Manchester City.
6. Alan and Jack Cork
Dad: 46, son: 221 (total: 267 games)
Unlike most of these father-son duos, it’s the younger Cork who’s racked up more appearances here.
Jack came through as a youngster at Chelsea but never made a senior league appearance for the Blues, embarking on a series of loan spells before moving to Southampton in 2011. Later of Swansea and now at Burnley, the midfielder has 221 top-flight games to his name, as well as an England cap.
Father Alan played just 46 games in the top flight (all for Sheffield United), although his career was coming to an end by the time of the 1992 rebrand. Indeed, the fearsome striker’s overall top-flight appearance tally stands at 218, with most of those coming during a lengthy stint at Wimbledon.
5. Rob and Elliot Lee
Dad: 280, son: 2 (total: 282 games)
Rob Lee featured almost as many times for Charlton as Newcastle, but it’s the Magpies with whom he’s most frequently associated.
The former midfielder made 267 Premier League appearances at St James’ Park and scored 44 goals, before featuring 13 times for Derby in 2001/02.
Son Elliot is only 24 and may still harbour hopes of making an impact at the top level, but the Luton striker was released by West Ham – the club he played for twice in the top flight – after failing to convince the Hammers that he could cut it with English football’s elite.
4. Kevin and Tyrese Campbell (326)
Dad: 325, son: 4 (total: 329 games)
Kevin and Tyrese Campbell became the 12th father-and-son duo to feature in the Premier League when the latter made his Stoke debut against Leicester in 2018.
The promising teenage forward came on for the final 26 minutes in a 1-1 draw at the King Power Stadium, with his senior bow coming 4,326 days after Kevin’s final top-flight appearance. Campbell Sr. played 325 games in the Premier League for Arsenal, Nottingham Forest, Everton and West Brom. Only three players – Romelu Lukaku, Duncan Ferguson and Tim Cahill – have scored more goals in the division for the Toffees.
3. Paul and Tom Ince
Dad: 306, son: 48 (total: 354 games)
“I'm totally different to my dad,” Ince Jr. insisted to the Guardian in 2013. “The type of player he was and the way he carried himself on the pitch is totally different to what I am. I'm just happy being Thomas Ince.”
The Stoke man certainly bears little on-field resemblance to his midfield general dad, who personally informed people that he was nicknamed "The Guv’nor" at Manchester United, Liverpool and Middlesbrough.
With just 48 Premier League appearances for the Terriers, Crystal Palace and Hull under his belt, Tom still has a lot of work to do before equalling Paul’s total of 306 – not to mention his two winner’s medals.
2. Peter and Kasper Schmeichel
Dad: 310, son: 158 (total: 468 games)
Not only did Kasper follow his father’s lead by pulling on a pair of gloves, he became the second Schmeichel to lift the Premier League trophy when Leicester stunned the world with their 2015/16 title win.
The younger Dane won't get close to Peter’s haul of five titles, but there’s still an outside chance he’ll overtake his tally of 310 English top-flight appearances.
The Foxes star, who turned 32 in November, needs to play another 153 games to achieve that feat...
1. Ian Wright and Shaun Wright-Phillips
Dad: 213, son: 316 (total: 529 games)
Bradley Wright-Phillips was unable to surpass his father’s top-flight appearance record, but older sibling Shaun succeeded by featuring 316 times compared to Ian’s 213 (although Wright Snr. Racked up a further 102 in the old First Division).
The winger graduated from the Manchester City academy in the late 1990s and went on to play 153 league matches for the Citizens, even if many of his early outings came in the second tier.
The 36-time England international later returned to City after spells with Chelsea and QPR. By the time he headed to MLS in 2015, Wright-Phillips had exactly matched his father's top-flight appearance total. Alongside the Schmeichels, Ian and Shaun are the only other father-son duo to have won the Premier League.
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