Top eight youngest players to feature in Europe’s top five leagues in 2022-23 season
These young stars made their debuts in the top five European leagues last campaign
The average age of footballers is getting lower. This could be the result of clubs putting more resources into their academies, football is filled with teenage talent. There are currently so many incredible young players in senior football right now. Recently teams with more and more young players are performing very well and with good scouting systems in the clubs we are seeing some of the best young talents coming out from Europe. Since the substitution rule is changed and more young players are getting playing minutes and improving drastically.
We take a look at the youngest players to have played in the top five leagues in the 2022-23 season.
8. Eli Junior Kroupi(Lorient) – 16 years and 11 months 11 days
He made his first appearance with the professional squad in April 2023, for the Ligue 1 game against Marseille. A mobile attacker who can operate effectively alone up front or offer versatility in the attacking duo. Has excellent pace, footwork, agility, and coordination.
He likes to play in a free attacking role granted the freedom to roam the pitch and find space. Very unselfish, creative, and intelligent player with very good passing and playmaking skills. Has excellent link-up play and the ability to connect with the midfield and attacking partners while playing with back-to-goal. Really good at counterattacks and is very composed as a player when he has the ball.
7. Simon Pafundi(Udinese) – 16 years and 10 months 22 days
On 22 May 2022, at 16 years old, Pafundi made his professional debut for Udinese, coming on as a substitute for Roberto Pereyra in the 68th minute of the team’s final league game of the season, a 4–0 away win over Salernitana. Very well knows how to use his body and agility to evade physical challenges but he’s a player of a very small frame who doesn’t feel comfortable in contact situations.
Likes to be fielded in a free role as an attacking midfielder, where he is given space to roam the pitch. Always tries to find a vertical option in his game, so he is very capable of pushing his team forward to finishing positions. Very creative with his off-the-ball movements, and likes to find the best space to receive the ball with good timings, linking up the team’s midfield and attack.
6. Paul Wanner(Bayern) – 16 years and 10 months 20 days
He made his professional debut for Bayern in the Bundesliga on 7 January 2022 against Borussia Mönchengladbach, coming on as a substitute in the 75th minute for Marc Roca. The most fascinating thing about his debut wasn’t just his age but his maturity in actions both on and off the ball despite his limited first-team experience.
His directness, quick feet and ability to dribble the ball in tight spaces with ease coupled with wonderful balance and composure made him stand out. Naturally, Wanner’s a no-10 but can also play out wide when needed. He can be another Jamal Musiala for Bayern.
5. Samuel Amo-Ameyaw(Southampton) – 16 years and 10 months and 10 days
Amo-Ameyaw joined Southampton from Tottenham Hotspur in August 2022 as a sixteen-year-old, having reportedly turned down the offer of a scholarship contract with Spurs. Amo-Ameyaw made his Premier League debut on 28 May 2023 appearing as a second-half substitute for James Ward-Prowse as Southampton played a home match with Liverpool, which finished 4–4. Amo-Ameyaw became the youngest-ever player to appear in the Premier League for Southampton.
He also represented England in the youth competitions. Very good at dribbling and creating chances and many clubs are chasing him to sign for their club.
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4. Lenny Yoro(Lille) – 16 Years and 9 months 13 days
He made his professional debut with Lille in a 3–1 Ligue 1 win over Nice on 14 May 2022. Yoro is the second youngest Lille player, behind Joël Depraeter-Henry and taking second place from Eden Hazard. Eh is a very robust, athletic and smart centre-back.
His maturity level is really good compared to his fellow young teammates and is now also his manager’s favourite. His presence inside the box while defending setpieces is really good but still needs to improve in his decision-making in the buildup. He will definitely develop into a much better player in the upcoming seasons.
3. Warren Zaïre-Emery(PSG) – 16 years and 4 months 29 days
Only at the age of 15, Zaïre-Emery was called by Mauricio Pochettino to the first team that season for training. His debut at the age of 16 years and 151 days made him the youngest player to appear in an official match for the club, a record which was previously held by El Chadaille Bitshiabu.
He is known for his versatility and ability to play anywhere in midfield, being comfortable in defensive, attacking and central roles. Very well knows how to dictate tempo using his good vision, passing ability at all distances, and natural technique to create dynamism in the team’s build-up process. Comfortable on that ball and has very good passing range. He will be a bright spot in the PSG team in future for sure.
2. Lamine Yamal(Barcelona) – 15 years and 9 months 16 days
Lionel Messi made his debut for Barcelona aged 17, then becoming the youngest player to make an official appearance for the club. Now, almost 20 years later, 15-year-old Lamine Yamal has broken his record. He is a player with a good body mass ratio, physical strength, power, stamina, and natural fitness who feels comfortable in contact situations.
He is a vertical player who likes to carry the ball into the advanced zones to find himself in a good position to shoot or set up play for his teammates. Very strong in 1v1 situations, unpredictable, and very confident in his abilities. He can be the next big thing for FC Barcelona.
1. Ethan Nwaneri(Arsenal) – 15 years and 5 months 28 days
After coming off the bench against Brentford, Ethan Nwaneri became Premier League’s, and by extension, Arsenal’s youngest player. It can’t be stressed enough how big of an achievement it is to turn out for Arsenal’s senior team while still being on schoolboy contract terms.
Nwaneri regularly trains with Arsenal’s first team already and training with the likes of Odegaard, Saka and Jesus will only help accelerate his development. He likes to have the ball at his feet and has the natural ability of an ‘orchestrator’ midfielder who can perform at all midfield positions. He is fast, dynamic, and mobile player who covers a lot of space, and has the ability and confidence to provide good through/killer passes in the final third. He still needs to improve but he is definitely the future of Arsenal.
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