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Ranking the 5 youngest debutants in Arsenal's history

Ranking the 5 youngest debutants in Arsenal's history
Ranking the 5 youngest debutants in Arsenal's history
Sharan Pillai

Considering the present time, we can say that Arsenal's glorious days are behind them. Arsenal is the only team in history to win the Premier League without losing a single game throughout the season.

🎶 49, 49 undefeated... 🎶 🗓 #OnThisDay in 2004, we reached a total of 49 consecutive @PremierLeague games without defeat. https://t.co/dZ2rdX4FNY

The Gunners have been devoid of the coveted silverware since 2004. The club has gone through a bitter phase recently. The bitter farewell of long-term manager Arsene Wenger had left the fans devastated. The club's inconsistency when it comes to securing the top four spot has added to their troubles.

However, under Mikel Arteta's reign, the club seems to be finding its way towards the top four again. The Gunners boss has built a team around talented youngsters and it seems to be working for him.

On the same note, let's take a look at a few of Arsenal's young guns.

Ranking the 5 youngest debutants in Arsenal's history.


#5 Armand Traoré — 17 years 16 days

As a boy, Armand Traore was a part of Monaco's youth setup
As a boy, Armand Traore was a part of Monaco's youth setup

Armand Traore's Arsenal stint lasted for nearly half a decade. However, most of it was spent away from the club as a loanee. Traore was a part of Monaco's youth setup before being recruited by the Gunners.

He was a significant member of Arsenal's reserve team and featured for them on a consistent basis throughout 2005. He received a senior team contract the following year and thus became an Arsenal player at the age of 16.

The full-back featured in Arsenal's EFL third-round game against West Bromwich Albion on 24 October 2006. He came in for Emmanuel Adebayor as an early substitute. Armand Traore cemented his place in Arsenal's every EFL outing that season.

Armand Traore has joined Juventus on loan for the 2010/2011 season - http://bit.ly/cenOil

He left the club on a permanent basis in 2011 and joined QPR.


#4 Ryan Smith — 16 years 11 months 18 days

Ryan Smith marked his debut against Rotherham United on 29th October 2003
Ryan Smith marked his debut against Rotherham United on 29th October 2003

Ryan Smith has played only six games in the iconic red and white jersey. All six of his Arsenal appearances came in the League Cup. Ryan Smith marked his debut against Rotherham United on 29th October 2003.

The Gunners won the game on penalties (10-9) and Ryan Smith was successful in converting his attempt. His debut came alongside another Arsenal prodigy who went onto make his mark at the club (more about him in one of the subsequent slides).

A dream shattered...Ryan Smith broke through at @Arsenal at the same time as Cesc Fabregas but his career took a downward turn following a freak injury. 🔴This is @rsmithldn's story...(@ChrisWheatley_ / @9024sports) https://t.co/SnDwPr8VE5

Ryan Smith moved to Leicester City in 2005 as a loanee. He found more playing time with the Foxes and also scored his first-ever career goal. Ryan Smith stopped playing top-level football in 2010 and moved to the lower tiers.

#3 Jermaine Pennant — 16 years 10 months 15 days

Jermaine Pennant broke Gerry Ward's long-standing record of being the youngest Arsenal debutant
Jermaine Pennant broke Gerry Ward's long-standing record of being the youngest Arsenal debutant

Pennant arrived at Arsenal as a 15-year-old trainee from Notts County. The transfer fee registered was £2 million. It was a record during that time for being the highest sum paid for a trainee.

Jermaine Pennant appeared in a league game on 30th November 1999 against Middlesbrough aged 16 years and 319 days. He broke Gerry Ward's long-standing record set in 1953 by two days.

Despite making featuring for the Arsenal senior side almost immediately, Jermaine Pennant had to wait another two-and-a-half years before making his league debut. Pennant scored a hat-trick in his first full-league game. Those remain his only goals in the Arsenal shirt.

Pennant was offloaded by the club due to poor discipline.


#2 Jack Wilshere — 16 years 08 months 12 days

Jack Wilshere was appointed captain of the U16 team at the age of 15
Jack Wilshere was appointed captain of the U16 team at the age of 15

Jack Wilshere was Arsenal's very own wonderboy. He received equal love from the team and the staff. Wilshere rose through the club's ranks after arriving from Luton Town. He was appointed captain of the U16 team at the age of 15.

Wilshere's reputation spread within the club and great manager Arsene Wenger kept an eye on the prodigy himself. An impressive run of form with Arsenal reserves urged Wenger to offer the young gun a full-time position directly under his watch.

38 – Jack Wilshere made 38 appearances in all competitions in 2017-18 (two goals, five assists), his second highest total for Arsenal after 2010-11 (49 games). Overlooked. https://t.co/rDxSr4jfPp

The 2008-09 season saw a 16-year-old prodigy wearing shirt number 19, walk alongside a team full of intimidating players. He is Arsenal's youngest ever Premier League debutant. Wilshere's colorful career was marred by injuries and he had to bid farewell to his boyhood club for good in 2017.


#1 Cesc Fabregas — 16 years 05 months 24 days

Fabregas is the second-ever youngest captain in Arsenal's history
Fabregas is the second-ever youngest captain in Arsenal's history

While Arsenal were preparing themselves to face Rotherham United in the League Cup on 29th October 2003, all eyes were on a certain player. The player being none other than Arsenal's second-ever youngest captain — Cesc Fabregas!

Fabregas joined Arsenal's academy as he was unsure about his permanent place in Barcelona. Before completing two months of his arrival, Fabregas was handed a start by the then manager, Arsene Wenger.

However, the Spaniard had to wait until the 2004-05 season to find regular playing time. Fabregas took some time to adapt to the English-style of football. He eventually became one of the finest players in the club's history and one of the favorite foreign players in the Premier League.

Fabregas left for his boyhood club Barcelona in 2011.

Edited by Diptanil Roy

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