Where the Premier League’s youngest-ever players ended up, from England star to non-league strugglers


MOST SCHOOLBOYS dream of lining up for their favourite clubs in the Premier League – but not many do it inbetween completing their homework.

But every now and then a young gun bursts on to the scene to grace the top-flight.

GettyEthan Nwaneri of Arsenal holds the record for the Premier League’s youngest player[/caption]

Alan Walter – The TimesJack Robinson was just 16 years and 260 days old when he made his Liverpool bow[/caption]

Arsenal’s Ethan Nwaneri made history last season when he became the youngest ever player in the Premier League era.

But what happened to the rest of those that were given their first taste of the big time while still a kid? Here Sun Sport takes a look at the top ten youngest stars to debut in the Prem.

10. JACK ROBINSON (16 yrs 260 days)

The defender became Liverpool’s youngest-ever player in the Premier League when he came off the bench against Hull City in Rafa Benitez’s final match in charge on May 9, 2010.

A number of loan spells followed at Wolves and Blackpool as did international recognition with England from under-16 to U21 level.

But he departed Anfield after making just two more Prem appearances for QPR in 2014.

He stayed there for four years, with a loan to Huddersfield included, prior to joining Nottingham Forest.

Now Robinson is back in the Premier League with Sheffield United after helping them to promotion from the Championship last term having moved to Bramall Lane in 2020.


9. REECE OXFORD (16 yrs 236 days)

The now 24-year-old was tipped for major things after captaining England at various youth levels – and he announced his arrival on the big stage in some style.

Back in August 2015 he shone on his senior debut as West Ham won 2-0 at Arsenal, but things soon turned sour.

Despite penning a long-term contract on his 18th birthday, he was shipped out on loan to Reading before two spells with Gladbach in the Bundesliga followed by another with Augsburg.

The defender then left the Hammers permanently in 2019 for Augsburg after making just a further seven top-flight appearances, and he remains with the Bundesliga outfit today.

AFPReece Oxford hit the headlines after his stunning debut for West Ham at Arsenal[/caption]

8. RUSHIAN HEPBURN-MURPHY (16 yrs 198 days)

Swindon Town’s 25-year-old forward made his Prem bow from the bench for Aston Villa in a 4-0 win at Sunderland on March 14 2015.

Having graduated through their academy, he played 13 times more in the league for them inbetween loans at Cambridge United, Tranmere and Derby.

But the ex-England U20 ace left Villa Park for Cypriot side Paphos in 2020 and scored SEVEN on his debut in a pre-season friendly.

After five goals in his first campaign, his missed the entirety of the second through injury and was ultimately released last year, resulting in a free transfer to Swindon which has led to eight goals in 32 League Two appearances.

GettyRushian Hepburn-Murphy came through the ranks at Aston Villa but is now at Swindon[/caption]

7. GARY MCSHEFFREY (16 yrs 198 days)

The now 41-year-old has now had a taste of management himself following a one-season spell at Doncaster.

But way back in February 1999 he made his Coventry debut against local rivals Aston Villa and helped them to a 4-1 win.

The former left-winger, is a Coventry legend after two spells with the Sky Blues, which were sandwiched between four years at Birmingham.

He also played for the likes of Nottingham Forest and Leeds before finishing his career in non-league after a spell playing for Doncaster.

PA:Empics SportGary McSheffrey became a legend during his two stints at Coventry City[/caption]

6. JOSE BAXTER (16 yrs 191 days)

The attacking midfielder was tipped to potentially be the next Wayne Rooney when he burst on to the scene for Everton and made his debut on the opening day of the 2008/09 season.

But after just seven top-flight appearances and a loan at Tranmere he headed to Oldham.

His displays there earned him a move to Sheffield United, and he produced the best form of his career with the Blades in League One before he was suspended after testing positive for ecstasy in 2016.

Everton offered him a lifeline and a one-year deal after that ban but he was released at the end of the season after not making a first-team appearance.

Baxter went on to play for Oldham again and then Plymouth before moving to Memphis 901 FC for a year, then he retired aged 29 in 2021.

PA:Empics SportJose Baxter was just 16 when David Moyes gave him his Everton debut[/caption]

5. AARON LENNON (16 yrs 129 days)

The winger came through the ranks at Leeds and came off the away to Tottenham in a 2–1 loss in August 2003 for his bow.

Spurs soon recognised his potential and headed to White Hart Lane two years later, where he went on to spend a decade at the North London club.

Lennon also became an England regular, winning 21 caps, and then signed for Everton after a loan spell there.

Three years at Goodison was followed by two at Burnley before 12 months in Turkey at Kayseri, but he returned to the Clarets to finish his career and hung up his boots last year.

PA:Press AssociationAaron Lennon enjoyed a great career after coming through at Leeds[/caption]

4. IZZY BROWN (16 yrs 117 days)

The former England youth ace tragically had his career cut-short through injury and retired in April 2023.

He made his Prem debut for West Brom 4 May 2013 in a 3–2 home defeat to Wigan.

Just months later he controversially moved to Chelsea before the forward embarked on a number of loans to Dutch side Vitesse, Rotherham, Huddersfield, Brighton, Leeds, Luton and Sheffield Wednesday.

After just one top-flight appearance for the Blues, he eventually left permanently in 2021 to join Preston, but he failed to play a single game for them due to injury and he eventually retired.

GettyIzzy Brown was forced to retire this year due to his injury issues[/caption]

3. MATTHEW BRIGGS (16 yrs 68 days)

Briggs was just 16 when he was thrown into Lawrie Sanchez’s Fulham first team away to Middlesbrough in May 2007 and he told Sun Sport how he headed back into school on the crest of a wave.

But his career at Craven Cottage never really took off and he ventured to Millwall, Colchester, Chesterfield and Barnet before, aged 28, he dropped to non-league with Maldon & Tiptree.

That led to a brief spell in Denmark as well as playing internationally for Guyana, having turned out for England at various levels up to Under-21, but these days he is lining-up at 32 for Horsham.

GettyEx-Fulham starlet Matthew Briggs is now playing non-league[/caption]

2. HARVEY ELLIOTT (16 yrs 30 days)

The now 20-year-old is a first-team regular these days for Jurgen Klopp’s Liverpool and England’s U21s.

But it was for Fulham in 2019 that Elliott made his Premier League debut after replacing Andre-Frank Zambo Anguissa in a 1–0 away defeat to Wolves.

He left the Cottagers that summer for Anfield, and after shining on loan at Blackburn in the 2020/21 season, he has collected a League Cup, Uefa Super Cup and Fifa Club World Cup medal with the Reds.

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AFPHarvey Elliott is a regular for Liverpool now after leaving Fulham[/caption]

1. ETHAN NWANERI (15 yrs 181 days)

The Gunners starlet rewrote history as the Premier League’s youngest player aged just 15.

And less than 24 hours later, he still handed in his English homework on time, revealed his former schoolteacher to Sun Sport.

The Arsenal sensation replaced Fabio Vieira in the 92nd minute of the 3-0 win away at Brentford on September 18, 2022 and, at 15 years and 181 days, he smashed the previous record held by Harvey Elliott. 

He penned a long-term deal with the club over the summer and Mikel Arteta has high hopes for the youngster.

.Here is the top ten in full[/caption]

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