5 youngest players in Premier League history

Aaron Lennon is one of the youngest players in Premier League history.
Aaron Lennon is one of the youngest players in Premier League history.

The essence of a local football club, especially in the Premier League, is exemplified by a young boy joining his hometown club’s youth setup and work his way up the ranks to first-team glory. Manchester United’s treble-winning 1998-99 season was further enhanced because the team was assembled with a bevy of United academy graduates, famously known as the Class of ’92.

In the early years of the competition, a young inexperienced campaigner representing a Premier League team was a rare sighting. However, the trend has changed in recent times, thanks to tightly packed schedules and the new five-substitution rule brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic.

In recent times, the likes of Marcus Rashford, Harry Kane and Phil Foden have worked their way up the ranks to establish themselves as key players for their respective clubs. On that note, let’s take a look at the five youngest players in Premier League history.

#5 Jose Baxter | 16 years 06 months 09 days on his Premier League debut

Jose Baxter
Jose Baxter

Jose Baxter was regarded as one of the finest talents in the English youth system after signing for Everton as a six-year-old.

Baxter represented the national team at the U16 stage. After impressive performances for club and country at the youth level, Baxter was handed his Premier League debut.

The then-16-year-old Baxter made his Premier League debut on the opening day of the 2008-09 season, coming on as a 78th-minute substitute against Blackburn Rovers. Baxter impressed and found himself a place in Everton’s starting XI in their next Premier League game.

In the process, the now-29-year old became the youngest Everton player to start a game when he faced West Brom but has struggled for first-team minutes since then.

In his debut Premier League season, Baxter made four appearances across all competitions and a total of 15 appearances in five years at Goodison Park, including only seven Premier League appearances.

The Englishman’s last played for US second-tier side Memphis 901 and is currently without a club. Baxter is now a vocal advocate of mental health awareness, working tirelessly to remove the stigma surrounding mental health among young players.

#4 Aaron Lennon | 16 years 04 months 07 days on his Premier League debut

Aaron Lennon celebrating with Scott Parker
Aaron Lennon celebrating with Scott Parker

One of the more recognisable names in our list, Aaron Lennon, made his Premier League debut as a teenager for Leeds United.

Lennon held the record of being the English top flight’s youngest player for quite some time when he marked his senior debut against Tottenham Hotspur. Like most players in our list, the Englishman made his debut after coming on as a substitute.

He would go on to make 11 Premier League appearances in his inaugural season at Elland Road. Leeds United’s financial problems, though, forced them to sell their young sensation to Tottenham Hotspur, where he established himself as one of the first names in the team sheet.

Lennon racked up 108 goal involvements (30 goals, 78 assists) in 365 appearances for the Lilywhites in ten productive seasons at the club.

The 34-year old is currently plying his trade for Turkish club Kayserispor after brief spells at Everton and Burnley.

#3 Izzy Brown | 16 years 03 months 27 days on his Premier League debut

Isaiah Brown
Isaiah Brown

Isaiah Brown was snapped up by Chelsea just two months after he made his Premier League debut.

Brown made his senior team debut for West Brom against Wigan Athletic after earning a promotion from their youth setup. However, he would have to wait another two years to make his second Premier League appearance. He did so while representing Chelsea against his old club.

The 24-year old has been a part of Chelsea’s youth team for the past eight years now but has failed to break into the first team.

Like most of Chelsea’s youth prospects, Brown has spent extensive loan spells at seven different clubs, including Vitesse, Rotherham, Brighton, and his current club Sheffield Wednesday. The Englishman enjoyed his longest run in the Premier League at Brighton and Hove Albion, where he registered 13 appearances.

#2 Matthew Briggs | 16 years 02 months 07 days on his Premier League debut

Matthew Briggs
Matthew Briggs

In a record that stood for 12 years, Matthew Briggs became the Premier League’s youngest debutant when he made his first-team debut for Fulham.

The England youth international appeared as a substitute against Middlesbrough in the 2006-07 edition of the competition. Briggs would have to wait another three years for his next Premier League appearance as he accumulated 13 top-flight appearances for Fulham.

Like Jose Baxter, Briggs recently opened up about the mental health issues he faced due to instant fame and fortune at such a young age. That led to a downslide in his professional career as he fell down the ranks to National League side Barnet FC in the fifth tier of English football.

The 30-year old’s mental health worsened over the years, and he failed to find a club for a brief spell. He had to earn his living as a construction worker. Briggs overcame his issues, earning a move to Danish outfit Vejle Boldklub after a solid showing for Dartford in the National League South.

#1 Harvey Elliott | 16 years 01 month on his Premier League debut

Harvey Elliot
Harvey Elliot

After making his senior debut for Fulham two years ago, Harvey Elliott remains the youngest player to grace the Premier League.

The young Englishman came on from the bench against Wolverhampton Wanderers in the 2018-19 Premier League season. After making just two league appearances for Fulham, Elliott turned down the opportunity to extend his stay at the club.

Instead, he signed his first professional contract with Liverpool. In the process, the 16 years and 174 days old Elliott became Liverpool’s youngest-ever player in any competition when he started for them in a League Cup encounter against MK Dons in a 2-0 win.

Elliott has registered nine appearances for the Reds, including two Premier League appearances. The Englishman recently returned to Anfield after a loan spell at Blackburn Rovers, where he notched up seven goals and 11 assists in 42 appearances in all competitions.

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