9 December 2009 ~ Arsenal are poised to hand young full-back Tom Cruise his Gunners debut for their Champions League clash in Olympiakos tonight. Yes, you heard correctly, Tom Cruise. Arsène Wenger is set to include the 18-year-old namesake of the Hollywood star in a youthful starting line-up that has an average age of just 20. Admittedly, Arsenal have already qualified as group winners prior to tonight's encounter, but that hasn't stopped the Sun rushing to make the obvious joke that tonight's tie is "looking like Mission Impossible".
Cruise is not the first to bare the name of a famous namesake. Former Aberdeen and Swindon midfielder Tom Jones was part of the Town side who won promotion to the First Division in 1990 only to then be demoted two divisions because of financial irregularities. On the subject of crooners there have also been two Football League midfielders called Dean Martin, one with Scunthorpe and Rochdale, the other with Brentford.
The ultimate name to live up to is that adopted by Porto's Brazilian striker Givanildo Vieira da Souza, known as Hulk. Like many of his compatriots he opts not to be known by his surname and after all it would cost fans an arm and a leg to get Vieira da Souza printed on their shirts. The strapping forward gained his nickname while playing for Tokyo Verdy in Japan after comparisons were made with body-building actor Lou Ferrigno from the TV series of the Incredible Hulk. Hulk appears to be showing signs of living up to the billing and grabbed Porto's third goal in their 3-0 drubbing of Atlético Madrid last night. Meanwhile, only time will tell as to whether Tom Cruise proves to be a Top Gun (sorry). Gareth Burton