Academy graduates are finding it increasingly difficult to break into the first-team at Premier League sides.
With even the smallest clubs in England’s top-flight having millions to spend in the transfer market, the team’s youth set-up can often be overlooked.
There is so much pressure on each and every Premier League fixture meaning managers are reluctant to rely on untested youngsters in the most competitive league in the world.
But there are occasions when teenagers are given the chance to impress in the Premier League.
Some of them take it and remain in the first-team for years to come.
Some make one or two appearances and are never seen again.
So, we’ve decided to take a look at the youngest Premier League player at each of the 20 clubs and asked: ‘What happened next?’
Arsenal | Jack Wilshere | 16 years, 125 days
Wilshere signed for Arsenal at the age of nine and was always destined for the first-team.
After making his Premier League debut as a 16-year-old in September 2008, Wilshere went on to make 197 appearances in all competitions for the Gunners.
But injuries have really impacted the midfielder’s career and the 27-year-old has managed just five matches for West Ham this season - the club he left Arsenal for in the summer.
Bournemouth | Matt Worthington | 19 years, 154 days
Worthington made his Premier League debut for Bournemouth on the final day of the 2016/17 season, coming on as a 74th-minute substitute against Leicester.
But the Englishman failed to make another appearance for the club and now finds himself playing League Two football with Yeovil at the age of 21.
Brighton | Izzy Brown | 20 years, 217 days
Brown is one of many Chelsea loanees, who spent the 2017/18 season with Brighton in the Premier League.
He played in their opening weekend loss to Manchester City, breaking the club record and made a further 12 Premier League appearances.
The 22-year-old is still contracted to Chelsea but he’s currently on loan at Leeds United.
Burnley | Aiden O’Neill | 18 years, 47 days
O’Neill made his professional debut in a 2-0 win against Liverpool in August 2016. The Australian has played two more times for the club in the top-flight and now finds himself on loan at Central Coast Mariners in the A-League.
Still only 20, O’Neill will be targeting more first-team opportunities at Turf Moor next season.
Cardiff | Tom James | 18 years, 25 days
James made his one and only Cardiff appearance against Chelsea in May 2014, coming on as an 89th-minute substitute.
He left Cardiff in January 2017, though, to join League Two side Yeovil - where he remains.
However, the 22-year-old is highly-rated and is expected to leave the Glovers in the summer.
Chelsea | Jody Morris | 17 years, 43 days
In February 1996, Morris made his Chelsea debut and played for the Stamford Bridge club for a further seven years.
Spells at Leeds, Rotherham, Millwall, St Johnstone and Bristol City followed before Morris returned to Chelsea to work with the youth team.
He’s now assistant manager to Frank Lampard at Derby County.
Crystal Palace | George Ndah | 17 years, 340 days
It was November 1992 when Ndah made his Premier League debut for Crystal Palace against Liverpool at Anfield.
Ndah played 100 more top-flight games for Palace over the course of five years before a two-year spell at Swindon Town.
He was a fan favourite at the County Ground but signed for Wolves for £1 million in 1999, spending the last seven years of his career there.
Everton | Jose Baxter | 16 years, 191 days
Baxter joined Everton as a six-year-old and there were hopes he would follow in the footsteps of Wayne Rooney at Goodison Park.
He made his Premier League debut on the opening day of the 2008/09 season, becoming Everton’s youngest ever player in the process.
But he only went on to play 15 times for his boyhood club.
He then had spells at Oldham and Sheffield United, where he failed a drugs test and was subsequently banned from football.
Everton gave him a lifeline by offering him a 12-month contract to help kickstart his career. Baxter played for the Under-23s during the 2017/18 season before he returned to Oldham in May 2018.
The 27-year-old is now turning out regularly for Oldham in League Two but many Everton fans will feel he’s really wasted his potential.
Fulham | Matthew Briggs | 16 years, 68 days
Briggs still holds the record as the youngest player to have ever played in the Premier League.
But the left-back managed just 30 games for Fulham, while going out on loan to numerous football league clubs.
Permanent spells at Millwall, Colchester United, Chesterfield and Barnet followed without too much success.
Briggs now finds himself at Maldon & Tiptree in the Isthmian League North Division.
Huddersfield | Kasey Palmer | 20 years, 276 days
Another young Chelsea loanee.
Palmer helped Huddersfield earn promotion to the Premier League during the 2016/17 season and remained there for the following campaign.
However, he only made four top-flight appearances and left to join Derby in January 2018.
Palmer is now on-loan at Bristol City after spending the first half of this season at Blackburn.
The 22-year-old is still contracted to Chelsea.
Leicester City | Emile Heskey | 17 years, 55 days
How many Leicester fans knew that Heskey would go on to become a club legend after making his debut shortly after his 17th birthday?
Heskey was born in Leicester and went on to score 46 goals in 197 matches for the club before moving to Liverpool for £11 million in 2000.
Four-and-a-half seasons, 60 goals and six trophies later, Heskey then had stints at Birmingham, Wigan, Aston Villa, Newcastle Jets and Bolton.
The 41-year-old is now happily retired.
Liverpool | Jack Robinson | 16 years, 250 days
Robinson made his debut for Liverpool in May 2010 against Hull - Rafa Benitez’s final match in charge of the club.
But it was just one of three Premier League appearances for the club before he left on a permanent basis for QPR in 2014.
He joined Nottingham Forest in the summer and is now a regular in their first-team this season.
Manchester City | Micah Richards | 17 years, 119 days
It was October 2005 when Richards made his first-team debut and the defender went on to play 245 times for the club.
He joined Aston Villa in 2015 but now hasn’t made anappearance since October 2016 as the 30-year-old sees out the remainder of his contract.
Manchester United | Angel Gomes | 16 years, 263 days
Gomes replaced Wayne Rooney on May 21, 2017 to become Man Utd’s youngest ever Premier League player.
The 18-year-old has since played two more times for United but will no doubt start to feature now the older he gets.
A serious talent.
Newcastle United | Kazenga Lua Lua | 16 years, 40 days
Lomana Lua Lua’s younger brother, Kazenga, played for Newcastle shortly after becoming a 16-year-old in January 2008.
But the striker didn’t last at St. James’ Park for too long and joined Brighton in the summer of 2011.
He’s also had spells at Doncaster, QPR and Sunderland.
The 28-year-old is now playing for Luton in League One.
Southampton | Luke Shaw | 17 years, 116 days
Southampton have had plenty of quality youngsters progression through their academy but Shaw is their youngest ever Premier League player.
He was a regular for the Saints for two Premier League seasons before Manchester United beat Chelsea to his signature and paid £30 million for him.
After suffering a horrific leg break and a troublesome relationship with Jose Mourinho, Shaw is now playing regularly for United again and is four games away from his 100th appearance for the Red Devils.
Remarkable to think he’s still only 23.
Tottenham | Stephen Carr | 17 years, 27 days
Carr became Spurs’ youngest Premier League player during the 1993/94 season but failed to play again in the league until 1996/97.
But he was suddenly a first-team regular and played 272 times for Spurs before joining Newcastle in 2004.
The right-back spent four seasons at Newcastle before a further five campaigns at Birmingham City before he retired.
Watford | Dion Pereira | 18 years, 42 days
Pereira came on as a substitute during Watford’s 3-0 loss to Leicester in May at the end of the 2016/17 season.
He also picked up the club’s Young Player of the Year at the end of that campaign.
However, in January 2019, the 19-year-old signed for MLS club Atlanta United.
West Ham | Reece Oxford | 16 years, 236 days
Remember when Oxford made his Premier League debut on the opening weekend of the 2015/16 season in a 2-0 win over Arsenal at the Emirates?
He was expected to remain a first-team regular in West Ham’s side after that but has only managed eight Premier League appearances for the club.
He’s had loan spells in Germany with Borussia Monchengladbach and is now at Augsburg.
Wolves | Anthony Forde | 18 years, 9 days
Forde’s Premier League debut came back in November, 2011 against Chelsea.
The midfielder remained at the club as they were relegated to the Championship and then League One before signing for Walsall in 2014.
In 2016, he moved to Rotherham where the 25-year-old is playing Championship football.News Now - Sport News