The Premier League’s Youngest Debutants and where they are now
September 11, 2015
With 16-year old Reece Oxford having made an impressive debut at the Emirates Stadium on the opening day of the new EPL stadium, he is set to join the long line of precocious players who have showcased ability way beyond their years. While some of the league’s youngest débutantes such as Wayne Rooney and James Milner have gone on to enjoy stellar careers, others have fallen by the wayside and failed to realise their potential.
The EPL Starlets who have started early
With this in mind, here is a look at three of our favourite youngsters and how their careers have progressed since making their debuts: –
Matthew Briggs (Fulham)
In 2007, Fulham’s academy full-back became the league’s youngest ever player at just 16 years and 68 days old. After an accomplished debut performance against Middlesbrough, the athletic and technically capable Briggs was tipped for stardom among the EPL elite and was reportedly scouted by Chelsea, Arsenal and Manchester United. He failed to live up to his early potential, however, as a combination of injury and a lack of confidence undermined his progress. Fulham’s relegation hardly helped, and after joining Millwall he is now on loan at League One Colchester United.
Aaron Lennon (Tottenham Hotspur)
Lennon was just 60 days older when he turned out for Leeds United against future employers Tottenham Hotspur in 2003, and while he has enjoyed sustained success in the EPL he has singularly failed to deliver on his immense early promise. He ultimately cost £1 million when he signed for Tottenham as an 18-year old, and although he lit-up White Hart Lane and won multiple caps for England his consistency and end product has faded badly in the last 18 months. He spent last-season at Everton, and has since made his switch to Goodison Park permanent.
Rushian Hepburn-Murphy (Aston Villa)
With Aston Villa already winning 4-0 at struggling Sunderland last season, manager Tom Sherwood decided that it was the ideal time to introduce talented youngster Rushian Hepburn-Murphy. The pacey, fleet-of-foot striker was just 16 years and 178 days old when he entered the fray, and his promotion to the first-team came as a huge surprise to fans of the club. Having scored 18 goals in 21 games for the club’s academy side last season, he seems set for a bright future with the Midlands club and may well be one to watch in the coming months.