Nwaneri, Adu and Atherton: Who are the youngest players ever?

Last week, by the name of a Northern Irish schoolboy Christopher Atherton entered the record books. Breaking records by becoming the youngest player to feature in a senior, first-class, fully sanctioned competitive match and now the English Premier League.

Aged just 13 years and 329 days, Atherton came off the bench to play for Glenavon FC in the Northern Ireland Football League Cup. Furthermore, Lurgan Blues were 6-0 winners on the night with their teenage debutant providing the assist for the sixth goal.

Atherton broke a British record previously held by more than four decades by Eamon Collins, who made his senior debut for Blackpool in 1980 at the age of 14 years and 323 days – almost a year older than Atherton. It was big.

A few days later, Arsenal broke the English Premier League record by debuting 15 and 181-day-old Ethan Nwaneri against Brentford.

Here we look at the youngest players to join Europe’s Big Five leagues, as well as fellow wonderkids who hold similar records in some other notable elite-level competitions around the world.

English Premier League: Ethan Nwaneri, 15 years, 181 days

Nwaneri previously broke the record held by Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott (16 years, 30 days) when he came on for Arsenal in a 3–0 win over Brentford on 18 September 2022. This record is held by Cesc Fabregas.

English Women’s Super League: Lauren James16 years and 30 days

Coincidentally, the Women’s Super League record for youngest ever player is exactly the same as the men’s Premier League age record, withweapon Forward James (who is his younger sister Chelsea defender Rays) is making his bow in the division less than a month after his 16th birthday.

Spanish La Liga: Luca Romero15 years and 219 days

Romero broke a record that had stood since 1939 when he came for it. Mallorca In the 83rd minute of a league game against Real Madrid In 2020 This record was earlier. Celta Vigo Defender Sanson, aged 15 years and 255 days when he made his debut for the club just months after the outbreak of the Second World War.

German Bundesliga: Yusufah Mokoko16 years and 1 day

Still only 17 at the time of writing, prolific striker Mokoko made his senior league debut Borussia Dortmund The day after his 16th birthday during the 2020-21 season — an appearance only made legal after the DFB changed their player age restrictions last year.

Was subbed on for Moukoko Erling Holland 5-2 for the final five minutes of the drubbing Hertha Berlin To claim the Bundesliga record from fellow Dortmund player Nuri Sahn, who made his league debut for the club at the age of 16 years and 334 days.

Italian Serie A: Wisdom Mom15 years and 274 days

Aimee broke new ground at the end of the 2020-21 season when he stepped out of the dugout for the final few minutes. Bologna2-0 loss against Genoa. Although he was unable to prevent defeat, the right-back came on in the 89th minute and thus became the youngest player in the history of Italian top-flight football.

French Ligue 1: Kalman Guernsey, 15 years and 225 days

The longest standing record can be found in all of Europe’s top five leagues. France Where Lens Midfielder Guernsey is the youngest player to appear in a top flight game despite doing so against Monaco in August 1960.

To put it in context, Kylian Mbappe He was 16 years and 347 days old when he made his debut for Monaco in December 2015.

Major League Soccer: Freddie Addo, 14 years and 306 days

A true MLS wonderkid, Addo was just 14 years old when he made his league debut for DC United in 2004. Branded by some as the “new yellow”, the unusually young striker quickly buckled under the weight of these stratospheric players. Expectations, giving way A largely unsettled and nomadic career.

Europa League: William Goebbels16 years and 113 days

Goebbels became the first player born in the 21st century to start the Europa League when he came on for it. Leon In the group stage game against Atlanta In December 2017. The young French forward also became the competition’s youngest ever player in the process after breaking out at the age of just 16.

Champions League: Yusufah Mokoko16 years and 18 days

Two weeks after becoming the Bundesliga’s youngest ever player, Mokoko followed suit in the Champions League when he featured for Dortmund against Zenit St Petersburg in the group stage of the 2020-21 competition. The 16-year-old striker was introduced in the 58th minute as Germany came from a goal down to secure a late 2-1 win in Russia.

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