Some soccer players develop at a much quicker rate than others and that’s why we see some of them make their professional debuts when they’re still teenagers. Most players join the youth academies of pro clubs when they’re still basically children and after several years of training some of them are ready to make the huge leap to the club’s senior side. Some teenagers can handle the pressure and skill level of top-tier soccer while others struggle and are never heard from again.
While English stars such as Wayne Rooney, Raheem Sterling and James Milner made their senior debuts as teenagers they don’t make the list of the top 10 youngest Premier League players in history. The following 10 players all graced the football pitch when they were between 16 and 17 years old. Nine of the 10 players are still playing today while the other retired from the sport back in 2001. Many of them have been sent out on loan by their parent clubs and others have experienced relegation and promotion while others have had their development stalled due to serious injuries.
Each player has enjoyed a different level of success with a couple of them being household names to Premier League and England fans. Ironically, all 10 of the Premier League’s youngest-ever players were born in England. Some of them are still young enough to become soccer stars for their club and country in the future even though they may currently be playing in the lower divisions. This is a look at the 10 youngest players to set foot on a Premier League pitch.
10 James Vaughan - 16 years, 270 days
9 Mark Platts - 16 years, 264 days
8 Jack Wilshere - 16 years, 255 days
7 Jack Robinson, 16 years, 250 days
6 Gary McSheffrey - 16 years, 198 days
5 Jose Baxter - 16 years, 191 days
4 Rushian Hepburn-Murphy - 16 years, 176 days
3 Aaron Lennon - 16 years, 128 days
2 Izzy Brown, 16 years, 117 days
1 Matthew Briggs, 16 years, 65 days
The youngest player to ever appear in a Premier League match was one Matthew Briggs who made his debut for Fulham in a 3-1 loss at Middlesbrough back in May of 2007. Briggs was 16 years and 65 days old at the time and the 24-year-old is a fullback currently playing with Colchester of League One after his parent club Millwall of the Championship League sent him out on loan. Briggs has appeared in 27 games this season after dealing with injuries last year. He realizes he has to play well in the lower leagues before he gets another shot in with a top flight club in the future. Briggs has played for England at all levels up to the Under-21 squad, but has now switched his national allegiance to Guyana, where his mother’s family hails from. Briggs played 13 league games with Fulham and then had brief loan spells at Leyton Orient, Peterborough United, Bristol City and Watford before joining Millwall.
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