Football Features

Where are they now? The youngest player for every Premier League club

By Squawka News

Where are they now? The youngest player for every Premier League club

Published: 9:40, 3 April 2023

Ethan Nwaneri made Premier League history when he became the youngest player to appear in the competition, coming on as a substitute for Arsenal in their 3-0 win over Brentford at just 15 years and 181 days old.

He also became the first ever player to play in the Premier League under the age of 16, with the previous record held by Harvey Elliot who made his Fulham debut aged 16 years and 30 days.

Although it was an extremely brief cameo, it was a moment Nwaneri will never forget, and Arsenal legend Ian Wright revealed the decision will not have been taken lightly.

“I’m so proud of that for Arsenal,” Wright said on Match of the Day. “To get in the team at that stage, some people might think it’s a stunt, but those people – Mikel (Arteta), Per (Mertesacker), Edu – are not putting him in there for a joke.

“They’re not going to bring people in just for the sake of it. They think very highly of him, he was playing for the U18s when he was 14.

“What I think this does is sent a massive message to the other academy players and shows them they all have a chance of playing in that first team.”

So Arsenal now hold the record, but how do the rest of the current Premier League clubs compare?

We’ve decided to take a look at each Premier League’s youngest player to appear in England’s top flight and what has happened since.

Some are familiar faces still plying their trade in the division, while others have fallen into obscurity.


Ethan Nwaneri

Age of Premier League debut: 15 years and 181 days

Premier League appearances: 1

Current club: Arsenal

Naturally, Nwaneri is also Arsenal’s youngest-ever Premier League player, breaking a 14-year record set by Jack Wilshere when he made his debut aged 16 years and 256 days against Blackburn in September 2008.

Arteta said of Nwaneri’s debut: “It was a feeling that I had yesterday, I don’t know why. The first day I met him I looked him in his eyes and everyone was telling me about him, Per was telling me about him, and because of the injuries we only have 12 or 13 senior players yesterday to put in the squad and we decided to bring him, and that’s it.

“It’s one step, one experience, so enjoy it and congratulations! It’s just one step and all the steps in your career are not forward and you have to know that.

“You can go forward then backwards and then forwards. You fall, you go back – that’s, unfortunately, this industry and the football career of any player.”

Aston Villa

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy

Age of Premier League debut: 16 years and 176 days

Premier League appearances: 2

Current club: Swindon

Hepburn-Murphy set the Villa record when he came on at just 16 years and 176 days old in the Premier League game against Sunderland in 2015. He has only made one other appearance since and found himself loaned out to the likes of Cambridge United, Tranmere Rovers and, last season, Derby County — although he didn’t make a single appearance for the latter. Hepburn-Murphy left Aston Villa permanently in 2020 for Cypriot First Division side Pafos but is back in England after two years, recently joining Swindon Town.


Owen Bevan

Age of Premier League debut: 18 years and 305 days

Premier League appearances: 1

Current club: Yeovil (on loan from Bournemouth)

Another club record broken this season, Bevan was a late substitute in Bournemouth’s 9-0 thrashing at the hands of Liverpool in August, just 60 days before his 19th birthday. Bevan will have to wait for his next Premier League appearance, however, sent on loan to Yeovil Town shortly after.


Fin Stevens

Age of Premier League debut: 18 years and 276 days

Premier League appearances: 1

Current club: Brentford

Brentford are only in their second season as a Premier League club so their youngest player may not be as young as the others, but the honour currently belongs to Stevens. The teenager made his top-flight debut in a 4-1 defeat to Southampton in January 2022 and is currently on loan at Swansea.

Brighton & Hove Albion

Evan Ferguson

Age of Premier League debut: 17 years and 122 days

Premier League appearances: 11

Current club: Brighton & Hove Albion

Another debut in a defeat, Irishman Ferguson made his Premier League bow for Brighton in their 3-0 loss to Burnley, coming off the bench for the final 22 minutes. Ferguson remains at the club he joined in January 2021 from Bohemians, and to date has bagged three goals across 11 appearances.


Jody Morris

Age at Premier League debut: 17 years and 43 days

Premier League appearances: 136

Current club: Retired

Morris came through the Chelsea ranks with his good friend John Terry, and he is still the club’s youngest-ever Premier League player, having made his debut against Middlesbrough in 1996.

Morris went on to make 124 appearances for Chelsea before the midfielder moved on to play for clubs such as Leeds United, Rotherham, Millwall, St Johnstone and Bristol City. He returned to his beloved Chelsea as a successful youth-team manager and later assistant manager to Frank Lampard but left upon the Englishman’s sacking.

Crystal Palace

George Ndah

Age at Premier League debut: 17 years and 340 days

Premier League appearances: 28

Current club: Retired

Ndah was a big striker and made his debut for Crystal Palace in the Premier League when his side faced Liverpool away from home in November 1992, a 5-0 defeat.

Ndah also plied his trade in the Football League with clubs such as Bournemouth, Swindon, Gillingham and Wolves.


Jose Baxter

Age at Premier League debut: 16 years and 191 days

Premier League appearances: 7

Current club: Retired

Baxter made his league debut in August 2008 in a home match against Blackburn Rovers. He started the following game, which also made him the club’s youngest-ever starter, though he could not cement his place in the squad. He’s since represented Oldham Athletic and Sheffield United before returning to Everton from where he re-joined Oldham before leaving for Plymouth Argyle in 2019. After a brief spell at Plymouth and Memphis 901 in America, Baxter retired last year.


Harvey Elliott

Age of Premier League debut: 16 years and 30 days

Premier League appearances: 37

Current club: Liverpool

The man whose record was broken at the weekend, Elliott made his Premier League debut for Fulham just a month after his 16th birthday in a 1-0 defeat to Wolves towards the end of the 2018/19 campaign. Elliott would play one more game for Fulham in the Premier League before signing for Liverpool and has since become a key member of Jurgen Klopp’s squad.

Leeds United

Aaron Lennon

Age at Premier League debut: 16 years and 129 days

Premier League appearances: 416

Current club: Unattached

Leeds have offered up a few gems during their spells in the Premier League, including James Milner, Harry Kewell and Alan Smith. The youngest of them all though, was Aaron Lennon, who made his Premier League debut against Tottenham at the age of just 16 years and 129 days. Lennon would go on to join Spurs and make over 260 Premier League appearances for the London club. He’s now without a club after spells with Everton, Burnley and Kayserispor.

Leicester City

Emile Heskey

Age at Premier League debut: 17 years and 55 days

Premier League appearances: 516

Current club: Retired

Heskey made his debut for Leicester City when his side faced QPR in 1995. He went to score 33 Premier League goals for Leicester City before he moved on to Liverpool, Birmingham, Wigan and Aston Villa.

He also had a spell in the Australian League with Newcastle Jets and back in England Bolton, where he scored two goals in 33 league games.


Jack Robinson

Age at Premier League debut: 16 years and 250 days

Premier League appearances: 20

Current club: Sheffield United

Robinson made his Liverpool debut in an away game against Hull City in 2010 but his career never really took off and was subject to a few loan deals at Wolves and Blackpool.

The left-back is now 29 and currently playing in the Championship with Sheffield United, after spells at QPR and Nottingham Forest.

Manchester City

Micah Richards

Age at Premier League debut: 17 years and 119 days

Premier League appearances: 204

Current club: Retired

Richards was touted as one to watch when he made his move to Manchester City as he had all the physical attributes to shine as a defender. He made his debut in October 2005 in an away match against Arsenal.

Richards was at City for 10 years, with a short spell at Fiorentina in the 2014/15 season, before he moved to Aston Villa in the summer of 2015. He was released by the Villans at the end of the 2018/19 season and retired shortly after, now working (and constantly winding Roy Keane up) as a pundit.

Manchester United

Angel Gomes

Age at Premier League debut: 16 years and 263 days

Premier League appearances: 5

Current club: Lille

On the final day of the 2016/17 season, Jose Mourinho handed a number of United prospects a full Premier League debut, however, it was the introduction of Gomes which was arguably the most high-profile of them all as he became the first player born in the year 2000 or later to play in the division when he replaced Wayne Rooney in the second half against Crystal Palace. Gomes joined Lille in 2020 and, after a loan spell at Boavista, is part of Les Dogues‘ first team.

Newcastle United

Kazenga LuaLua

Age at Premier League debut: 16 years and 40 days

Premier League appearances: 7

Current club: APO Levadiakos

LuaLua, highly thought of as a youngster, made his Premier League for Newcastle United in January 2018 but he could never emulate his brother, Lomana, and relocated to Brighton in 2011, first on loan, then permanently. After spells with QPR, Sunderland, Luton Town and Genclerbirligi, LuaLua now plays for Greek side APO Levadiakos.

Nottingham Forest

Chris Doig

Age at Premier League debut: 17 years and 315 days

Premier League appearances: 2

Current club: Retired

Doig played just two Premier League games for Nottingham Forest, spending the majority of his career at the Reds outside the top flight after making his debut away to Manchester United in on Boxing Day 1998.

After leaving Forest in 2005, Doig spent two years in Australia with Central Coast Mariners and another season with Indonesia’s Pelita Jaya. The Scot made his return to English football in 2011, representing Aldershot, York City and Grimsby Town before retiring in 2015.


Luke Shaw

Age at Premier League debut: 17 years and 116 days

Premier League appearances: 231

Current club: Manchester United

Shaw burst onto the scene in 2012 when he made his debut in the Premier League for Southampton. He emerged as a fantastic talent and rightly got a big move to Manchester United.

Injury problems have stunted his growth as a player but Shaw has been reliable for a number of Man Utd managers.

Tottenham Hotspur

Dane Scarlett

Age at Premier League debut: 16 years and 320 days

Premier League appearances: 2

Current club: Portsmouth (on loan from Tottenham)

In coming in injury time of Tottenham’s 2-0 win over West Brom in February 2021, Scarlett broke an almost-18-year club record, replacing Stephen Carr as their youngest-ever Premier League player.

Scarlett added another Premier League appearance last season but is now on loan at Portsmouth.

West Ham United

Reece Oxford

Age at Premier League debut: 16 years and 236 days

Premier League appearances: 8

Current club: FC Augsburg

Oxford has played a few times for West Ham and to be fair to the lad, he has done a pretty good job, playing like a far more mature centre-back than his age suggests.

He has the attributes to become a very good defender in the future, and is starting to enjoy his permanent stay at FC Augsburg, moving in 2019 after an initially successful loan spell – though he is currently injured.


Anthony Forde

Age at Premier League debut: 18 years and 10 days

Premier League appearances: 6

Current club: Wrexham

Forde came through the Wolves youth system and would make his Premier League debut against Chelsea in November 2011. Across the 2011/12 season, he’d make a further five appearances though would also suffer the ignominy of relegation. The Irish-born forward would ultimately leave, without having registered a goal for Walsall before settling at Rotherham United. A three-year spell at Oxford United followed but Forde was on the move again in the summer, joining Wrexham.