Who was the youngest player to appear in an English Football League match?

The youngest player to appear in an English Football League match was Reuben Noble-Lazarus, who was aged 15 years and 45 days when he made his debut for Barnsley, of the Championship, on September 30, 2008. Born in Huddersfield, West Yorkshire on August 16, 1993, but of Grenadian descent, Noble-Lazarus replaced midfielder Martin Devaney after 84 minutes during a 3-0 defeat by Ipswich Town at Portman Road. In so doing, he beat the previous record, 15 years and 158 days, set by Bradford Park Avenue outside right Albert Geldard against Millwall at the Old Den on September 16, 1929 and subsequently equalled by Wrexham winger Kenneth Robertsm, coincidentally, against Bradford Park Avenue at Park Avenue on September 1, 1951, by the better part of four months.

Following a brief, but promising, debut, Barnsley manager Simon Davey said of Noble-Lazarus, ‘He is a talent and we need to nurture him in the right way. We need to look after him. He has got to be dipped in and dipped back out [of the first team].’ The young striker did go on to make 46 league appearances for the Tykes, but scored just three goals and his career, which was blighted by a succession of injuries, never really blossomed in the way that might have been anticipated.

Brief loan spells at Scunthorpe United and Rochdale followed, before Noble-Lazarus signed permanently for the Dale on January 13, 2015, only to be released by the club at the end of the 2015/16 season and re-sign, on a twelve-month contract, on July 14, 2016. He scored two goals in 34 appearances, mainly as a substitute, for Rochdale but, after leaving the club on August 7, 2017, made just two appearances for Golcar United, of the North West Counties Football League. He was released by Halifax Town, of the National League, on July 1, 2021, having never played for the first team.

Post Navigation