Every club’s youngest Premier League debutant and what happened to them…
Inspired by Arsenal playing a wee boy at Brentford, we’ve taken a look at every club’s youngest Premier League player, with plenty of cautionary tales for Ethan Nwaneri.
Arsenal: Ethan Nwaneri
15 years, 5 months, 28 days
Debut: Brentford 0-3 Arsenal, September 28, 2022
The lad who prompted this feature made his Arsenal debut off the bench last week. Not everyone is impressed.
Aston Villa: Rushian Hepburn-Murphy
16 years, 6 months, 14 days
Debut: Sunderland 0-4 Villa, March 14, 2015
Hepburn-Murphy, a Jamaica-born centre-forward, was given a debut by Tim Sherwood and made 16 more first-team appearances between loans at Cambridge, Tranmere and Derby. He then moved to Pafos in Cyprus before returning to England at Swindon in the summer.
Bournemouth: Owen Bevan
18 years, 10 months, 1 day
Debut: Liverpool 9-0 Bournemouth, August 27, 2022
The centre-back, who has been a Cherry since he was nine years old, was chucked in the deep end at Anfield before being sent out on loan to Yeovil in League Two.
Brighton: Evan Ferguson
17 years, 4 months
Debut: Brighton 0-3 Burnley, February 19, 2022
The Republic of Ireland Under-21 striker made his top-flight bow just over a year after joining Brighton from Bohemians. Ferguson has featured on the bench once in the Premier League this season.
Brentford: Fin Stevens
18 years, 9 months, 1 day
Debut: Southampton 4-1 Brentford, January 11, 2022
The seventh-youngest player in Bees history is currently on loan at Swansea, where he has come off the bench three times in the Championship.
Chelsea: Jody Morris
17 years, 1 month, 14 days
Debut: Chelsea 5-0 Boro, February 5, 1996
Morris played 173 games across all competitions for the Blues before moving to Leeds. The ex-midfielder later returned to Stamford Bridge as an academy coach prior to assisting Frank Lampard with the first team.
Crystal Palace: George Ndah
17 years, 11 months, 5 days
Debut: Liverpool 5-0 Crystal Palace, November 28, 1992
The striker made 28 Premier League appearances for Palace, scoring one goal, before shuffling off to Swindon for half a million quid.
Everton: Jose Baxter
16 years, 6 months, 9 days
Debut: Everton 2-3 Blackburn, August 16, 2008
Once dubbed the next Rooney, Baxter was the then-second-youngest starter in the Premier League behind Fulham’s Matt Briggs. But he only made six more Premier League appearances before leaving for Oldham. From there he moved on to Sheffield United where he failed a drugs test. Retired aged 29 after finishing his career at Memphis 901 in the second tier of the USL.
Fulham: Harvey Elliott
16 years, 1 month
Debut: Wolves 1-0 Fulham, May 4, 2019
Elliot broke Briggs’ record, before becoming Liverpool’s second-youngest Premier League player having moved to Anfield a couple of months later. The midfielder is also the youngest player to play in the League Cup at 15 years and 174 days.
Leeds United: Aaron Lennon
16 years, 4 months, 7 days
Debut: Tottenham 2-1 Leeds, August 23, 2003
Archie Gray would have taken ex-England international Lennon’s record had he made his Prem debut on any of the six occasions he sat on Leeds’ bench last season. Lennon had a fine career, making 416 top-flight appearances for Leeds, Tottenham, Everton and Burnley.
Leicester City: Emile Heskey
17 years, 1 month, 25 days
Debut: QPR 2-0 Leicester, March 8, 1995
Heskey played 154 league games for the Foxes, scoring 40 goals, before moving to Liverpool. He subsequently played in the Premier League for Birmingham, Wigan and Villa while earning 62 England caps along the way.
Liverpool: Jack Robinson
16 years, 8 months, 7 days
Debut: Hull 0-0 Liverpool, May 9, 2010
The centre-back played twice more in the top-flight for Liverpool, before leaving Anfield permanently for QPR in 2014. He later returned to the Premier League with Sheffield United where he remains.
Manchester City: Micah Richards
17 years, 3 months, 28 days
Debut: Arsenal 1-0 City, October 22, 2005
After bursting on the scene, Richards played 245 games for City across all competitions and made 13 England appearances. Then his career fell off a cliff, largely due to injuries, during spells at Fiorentina and Villa.
Manchester United: Angel Gomes
16 years, 8 months, 20 days
Debut: United 2-0 Crystal Palace, May 21, 2017
Gomes featured when Jose Mourinho played a team of kids on the final day with little at stake prior to the 2017 Europa League final. He played only four more times in the Premier League and, realising his prospects were limited at Old Trafford, he opted to join Lille as a free-agent in 2020.
Newcastle United: Adam Armstrong
17 years, 1 month, 5 days
Debut: Fulham 1-0 Newcastle, Mar 15, 2014
Geordie striker Armstrong played 17 times for his hometown team before joining Blackburn permanently in 2018 after loan spells at Rovers, Bolton, Barnsley and Coventry. He netted 49 in 130 games at Blackburn before returning to the Premier League with Southampton after Saints paid around £15million for the England Under-21 international.
Nottingham Forest: Chris Doig
17 years, 10 months, 13 days
Debut: Manchester United 3-0 Forest, Dec 26, 1998
A couple of Premier League appearances was as good as it got for Doig, who enjoyed a long career in the Football League and abroad in Australia and Indonesia.
Southampton: Luke Shaw
17 years, 3 months, 24 days
Debut: West Brom 2-0 Saints, Nov 5, 2012
Made Saints around £30million when they sold him to Manchester United in 2014, where he remains, though Erik ten Hag doesn’t seem all that impressed.
Tottenham: Dane Scarlett
16 years, 10 months, 14 days
Debut: Spurs 2-0 West Brom, Feb 7, 2021
Scarlett made solitary Premier League appearances in each of the last two seasons before being loaned this summer to Portsmouth, where the 18-year-old has scored three goals in eight League One games.
West Ham: Reece Oxford
16 years, 7 months, 24 days
Debut: Arsenal 0-2 West Ham, Aug 9, 2015
Oxford broke a 93-year-old record to become the Hammers’ youngest-ever player, and though big things were expected, evidenced by the four-and-a-half-year contract he was awarded on his 18th birthday, he made only one more Premier League appearance after putting pen to paper. He was loaned to Reading, Borussia Monchengladbach and Augsburg, where he moved permanently in 2019.
Wolves: Anthony Forde
18 years, 10 days
Debut: Chelsea 3-0 Wolves, Nov 26, 2011
Forde managed six Premier League appearances before Wolves dropped into the Championship. He went on to play for Scunthorpe, Walsall, Rotherham and Oxford before joining Wrexham in the National league this summer.