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Giving youth a chance: The 10 youngest Premier League players ever

Harvey Elliott of Fulham warms up during the Premier League match between Fulham and Everton at Craven Cottage on April 13, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.
Harvey Elliott, Fulham (Image credit: Sebastian Frej/MB Media/Getty Images)

Arsenal returned to winning ways with a 3-0 victory at Brentford on Sunday, but it was teenage midfielder Ethan Nwaneri who grabbed the headlines.

Making his debut as a late substitute, Nwaneri became the youngest player in Premier League history at the age of 15 years and 181 days.

But who else makes the top 10 of youngest-ever Premier League players? FourFourTwo has the updated list right here.

10. Jack Robinson, Liverpool (16 years and 250 days)

Jack Robinson of Liverpool during a team portrait session on August 11, 2014 in Liverpool, England.

Jack Robinson, Liverpool (Image credit: Andrew Powell/Liverpool FC via Getty Images)

Jack Robinson only ever made three league appearances for Liverpool, but his debut saw him become the club's youngest-ever player.

The defender also proved to be Rafael Benitez's last-ever substitute as Reds manager, replacing Ryan Babel late on in a 0-0 draw at Hull on the final day of the 2009/10 season.

Robinson is currently at Championship Sheffield United; he featured for the Blades as they recorded their best-ever Premier League finish of ninth in 2019/20.

9. Reece Oxford, West Ham (16 years and 236 days)

West Ham United manager Slaven Bilic speaks with Reece Oxford of West Ham United during the Premier League match between Arsenal and West Ham United at Emirates Stadium on August 9, 2015 in London, England.

Reece Oxford on his Premier League debut for West Ham, with manager Slaven Bilic (Image credit: Catherine Ivill - AMA/Getty Images)

Most players on this list made their Premier League debuts as substitutes, but Reece Oxford did it as a starter.

West Ham got their 2015/16 league campaign underway with a 2-0 win away to Arsenal, with Oxford producing an impressive midfield performance for Slaven Bilic's side.

The former England youth international made another seven Premier League appearances for the Hammers, before joining Bundesliga outfit Augsburg in 2019.

=7. Gary McSheffrey, Coventry (16 years and 198 days)

Coventry through and through, Gary McSheffrey made his senior Sky Blues debut in February 1999 – coming off the bench late on in a 4-1 thrashing of local rivals Aston Villa.

The striker never scored a Premier League goal for his hometown club, though, not establishing himself as a first-team regular until after their relegation to the second tier.

He returned to the top flight with Birmingham in 2007/08 but only netted three times in 37 Premier League appearances for the Blues overall.

=7. Rushian Hepburn-Murphy, Aston Villa (16 years and 198 days)

Rushian Hepburn-Murphey of Aston Villa during the Premier League match between Sunderland and Aston Villa at the Stadium of Light on March 14, 2015 in Sunderland, England.

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy during his Premier League debut for Aston Villa (Image credit: Neville Williams/Aston Villa FC via Getty Images)

Rushian Hepburn-Murphy's first-team breakthrough at Aston Villa coincided with the least memorable period in the club's recent history – but he won't have forgotten his debut.

The forward came on as a late substitute for Christian Benteke during a rare point for Villa during the 2014/15 season – a 4-0 win at Sunderland – although he would make only one more Premier League appearance.

Hepburn-Murphy is currently plying his trade for Swindon in League Two, following a spell with Cypriot outfit Pafos.

6. Jose Baxter, Everton (16 years and 191 days)

Still Everton's youngest-ever Premier League player, Jose Baxter made his Toffees debut as a late substitute for Nuno Valente on the opening day of the 2008/09 season.

The following week, he became the youngest-ever Premier League starter – but the boyhood Liverpool fan made just five more appearances for the Reds' Merseyside rivals.

Baxter – who returned to Everton in January 2017 after serving a 12-month drugs ban – retired last year at the age of 29 after a stint with American outfit Memphis 901, conceding that he hadn't fulfilled his potential (opens in new tab).

5. Aaron Lennon, Leeds (16 years and 129 days)

It feels like Aaron Lennon has been around forever – and that's because he has, really.

Currently a free agent after leaving Burnley, the winger made his Premier League debut some 19 years ago, coming on to replace Mark Viduka as Leeds lost 2-1 to Tottenham at White Hart Lane in August 2003.

Lennon later signed for Spurs and went on to make 266 Premier League appearances for them, as well as earning 21 England caps.

4. Izzy Brown, West Brom (16 years and 117 days)

Shaun Maloney of Wigan is brought down by Isaiah Brown of West Bromwich during the Premier League match between West Bromwich Albion and Wigan Athletic at The Hawthorns on May 4, 2013 in West Bromwich, England.

Izzy Brown (L) commits a foul during his Premier League debut for West Brom (Image credit: .Clive Mason/Getty Images)

Izzy Brown has only made two Premier League appearances – and his debut in saw him become the second-youngest player in the history of the competition.

Despite only being introduced in the 86th minute of West Brom's 3-2 loss at home to Wigan on the final day of 2012/13, Brown still managed to get booked.

The forward joined Chelsea that summer but featured just once for the Blues, who he left in June 2021 after no fewer than seven spells out on loan.

3. Matthew Briggs, Fulham (16 years and 98 days)

Matthew Briggs of Guyana during the Group D 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup match between Guyana v Panama at FirstEnergy Stadium on June 22, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio.

Matthew Briggs, Guyana (Image credit: Matthew Ashton – AMA/Getty Images)

One of two Fulham players to make this list, Matthew Briggs took over the title of youngest-ever Premier League debutant on the final day of 2006/07.

Having made a name for himself in the club's youth ranks, the defender came on to replace Moritz Voltz as Lawrie Sanchez's side lost 3-1 at Middlesbrough.

Now at non-League Gosport Borough, the Guyana international made another 12 appearances for the Cottagers – all in the top flight – before being released in 2014.

2. Harvey Elliott, Fulham (16 years and 30 days)

Harvey Elliott of Fulham before the Premier League match between Fulham and Cardiff City at Craven Cottage on April 27, 2019 in London, United Kingdom.

Harvey Elliott, Fulham (Image credit: Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

Briggs' record stood for almost exactly 12 years – until Harvey Elliott came along and broke it on the penultimate weekend of the 2018/19 campaign.

The midfielder had already made his professional debut in the League Cup earlier that season, but his introduction late on in Fulham's 1-0 loss at Wolves could come to be looked back upon as the start of a truly special Premier League career.

Still only 19, Elliott is now a first-team regular for Liverpool and an outside bet for inclusion in Gareth Southgate's England squad for the World Cup.

1. Ethan Nwaneri, Arsenal (15 years and 181 days)

Ethan Nwaneri of Arsenal applauds the fans following the Premier League match between Brentford and Arsenal at the Gtech Community Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Brentford, England.

Ethan Nwaneri after making his Premier League debut for Arsenal in Sunday's 3-0 win at Brentford (Image credit: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

August 18, 2022 is a day that Ethan Nwaneri will never forget: as Arsenal returned to the top of the league with a 3-0 win at Brentford, the midfielder became the first 15-year-old ever to play in the Premier League.

With the three points in the bag, Mikel Arteta sent Nwaneri on to replace Fabio Vieira in stoppage time.

In making his Gunners debut, Nwaneri – who was born eight months after the Emirates Stadium opened – has knocked former Arsenal man Jack Wilshere out of this top 10.

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