“How many defenders have scored a hat-trick from open play?” asks Jack Tanner.
Not that many, is the short answer, if our pretty extensive search is anything to go by, Jack. There are few defenders who have achieved the feat with the aid of a penalty, Denis Irwin, Fernando Hierro and – bizarrely – Gary Gillespie among them. And then we move on to examples of defenders who achieved the feat from open play but not while playing in a defensive position. For some reason we can’t fathom, Steve Staunton, a left-back for most of his career, leapt off the bench to score a second-half hat-trick for Liverpool at Wigan in the League Cup in October 1989, but he replaced Ian Rush in a forward position. No defender has scored a hat-trick in the Premier League, though Steve Watson, converted from a full-back into an attacking midfielder by David Moyes at Everton, did the trick in a 4-0 win over Leeds in 2003 so is about as close as it gets (Irwin’s Manchester United hat-trick came in Europe).
Source: Football News
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