May 20, 2024

Arsenal’s 10 youngest Premier League debutants

5 min read

Youngest Premier League debutants in Arsenal football club.

Arsenal has a reputation for giving young players an opportunity, despite the fact that the club’s youngest Premier League debutants have had varied results in north London.

After years of inconsistency, players like Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, and Gabriel Martinelli have given fans faith that the Gunners have finally discovered a solid basis on which to build.

Arsenal’s desire to give young players an opportunity has been a hallmark of the club throughout the Premier League era, with iconic former manager Arsene Wenger famed for his belief in youth.

The 10 youngest Premier League debutants for the Gunners

Jack Wilshere, 16 years and 256 days

Debut: 13th September 2008 vs. Blackburn Rovers (A)

Wilshere appeared destined for Arsenal and England fame when he first burst onto the scene as a 16-year-old.

His performance against Barcelona in 2011 against Xavi and Andres Iniesta remains one of the most legendary individual displays in the history of the Champions League, as he bossed Xavi and Andres Iniesta at the age of 19 years old.

Unfortunately, Wilshere’s Arsenal career would be cut short due to injury troubles.

He eventually left the club in 2018 to join West Ham, where he spent two more injury-plagued seasons before being released. Wilshere, who is still only 30, is now a free agent but has been training with Arsenal to maintain his condition.

Serge Gnabry, 17 years and 98 days

Debut: 20th October 2012 vs. Norwich City (A)

Serge Gnabry was a promising young Arsenal player who was unable to break into the first team on a regular basis. 

The winger’s transfer to Bayern Munich aroused some questions, but he is now a vital member of the Bundesliga heavyweights and Germany.

Gnabry has three German championships under his belt and was instrumental in the team’s Champions League triumph in 2020. He is regarded as one of the top wingers in the world.

Cesc Fabregas, 17 years and 103 days

Debut: 15th August 2004 vs. Everton (A)

The La Masia graduate oozed class at the heart of a fine Gunners side, whether as a defensive midfielder or pushed forward into an attacking position.

Before returning to Barcelona, Fabregas went on to become one of the best midfielders in the world, captaining Arsenal. When he returned to the Premier League with Chelsea and won two titles, he solidified his reputation as a Premier League legend.

With Spain, he also won three major titles, and currently, at the age of 34, he plays for Monaco in Ligue 1.

Ainsley Maitland-Niles, 17 years and 105 days

Debut: 13th December 2014 vs. Newcastle United (H)

Maitland-Niles had a reputation as an all-action midfielder when he came through Arsenal’s youth system, but he was never able to break into the first team.

He was deployed as a right-back and wing-back on both flanks, therefore he never got a chance to play in his favorite position.

Maitland-Niles spent the second half of last season on loan at West Bromwich Albion before joining Roma on loan in January, where he is playing regularly under Jose Mourinho.

Gavin McGowan, 17 years and 110 days

Debut: 6th May 1993 vs. Sheffield Wednesday (A)

McGowan was a member of Arsenal’s FA Youth Cup-winning team in 1994, and his impressive efforts in the academy were rewarded with a first-team appearance in 1993.

However, the defender would only make seven Premier League appearances for Arsenal over the next six years, and he was eventually sold to Luton Town in 1998.

McGowan retired in 2001 and went back to school to become a physical education instructor. He is also a UEFA B certified coach.

Bukayo Saka, 17 years and 117 days

Debut: 1st January 2019 vs. Fulham (H)

The winger has solidified his place in Arteta’s starting lineup and has also performed for England on the international scene. 

He missed the crucial penalty for the Three Lions in the European Championship final against Italy when he was a teenager, but he has rebounded with a great domestic season.

Saka has six goals and four assists in the Premier League this season, and he appears to be a long-term fixture at the Emirates.

Theo Walcott, 17 years and 155 days

Debut: 19th August 2006 vs. Aston Villa (H)

Walcott was propelled into the spotlight at an early age, and when Arsenal decided to sign him from Southampton, there was a lot of enthusiasm.

While he never reached superstar status with Arsenal, the wide forward was a regular at the Emirates Stadium for 12 years, scoring 108 goals and winning the FA Cup twice.

Walcott left Arsenal for Everton in January 2018, and he’s now back at Southampton, where he’s a first-team option for Ralph Hasenhuttl.

Chuba Akpom, 17 years and 340 days

Debut: 14th September 2013 vs. Sunderland (A)

Akpom scored goals for fun at youth level for the Gunners, so it was no shock when he earned a first-team chance.

However, in adult football, the striker was unable to find the back of the goal with the same regularity. Akpom spent six loan spells away from Arsenal before signing a permanent deal with PAOK in 2018.

Aaron Ramsey, 17 years and 261 days

Debut: 13th September 2008 vs. Blackburn Rovers (A)

When Ramsey broke through at Cardiff City, he was seen as a future star, and Arsenal beat a number of rivals to get him.

The Wales international enjoyed a terrific career with the north London side after a rocky start at the Emirates.

Ramsey won the FA Cup three times with Arsenal, scoring the game-winning goal in two of the finals, and had a total of 64 goals for the club until joining Juventus in 2019. After watching his chances in Turin dwindle, he has been loaned out to Rangers.

Alex Song, 18 years and 10 days

Debut: 19th September 2005 vs. Everton (H)

The Cameroon international attracted the eye from an early age at Arsenal and after getting into the first team under Wenger he experienced spurts of both outstanding and dismal form.

Song and Robin van Persie developed a strong bond, with Song’s precision passes into the Dutchman becoming a trademark during one campaign.

Song had a successful career at Arsenal and later went on to play for an all-conquering Barcelona, but he will be best remembered for awkwardly approaching Carlos Puyol to lift the La Liga trophy with Eric Abidal.

Original article,Youngest Premier League debutants in Arsenal football club

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