Jude Bellingham’s cameo for England against Croatia means he now holds a memorable record in the tournament.
England teenager Jude Bellingham scripted history when he replaced Harry Kane against Croatia during the UEFA Euro 2020 match. The 17-year-old came on as a substitute in the 82nd minute, making him the youngest player in UEFA Euro history.
Netherlands’ Jetro Willems held the record previously since 2012. However, Bellingham’s record could be short-lived as Poland’s Kacper Kozlowski can make the record his own, if he earns a cap against Slovakia on Monday. Kozlowski is 109 days younger than Bellingham and a single appearance would mean he will be the new record holder.
It is fascinating to see how many more youngsters are getting the opportunity to represent their nation at the highest level. Here, we take a peek back into history to know who are the five youngest players in UEFA Euro history:
5. Valeri Bojinov (Bulgaria) – 18 years, 136 days
Unfortunately, Vonlanthen’s record lasted only five days. A certain Bulgarian, Valeri Bojinov, came off the bench in his side’s 2-1 loss to Italy at Euro 2004 and rewrote history. Bojinov went on to become a journeyman in Europe and is still up and running at the age of 35.
After his debut at the Euros, the striker went on to represent top teams including Juventus, Sporting CP, Manchester City and Fiorentina. Currently, Bojinov plies his trade for Levski Sofia in the Bulgarian top division.
4. Enzo Scifo (Belgium) – 18 years, 115 days
Former Belgian international Enzo Scifo sits at the third place among the list of youngest players at the UEFA Euro Championship. Scifo is regarded as one of the greatest-ever in Belgian football history. He appeared for his country in a joint-record four FIFA World Cups.
The midfielder played for several renowned European outfits including Anderlecht, Inter Milan and AS Monaco. After hanging up his boots, Scifo undertook coaching stints, including one with the Belgium U-21 side in 2015.
3. Jetro Willems (Netherlands) – 18 years, 71 days
28 years after Enzo Scifo became the youngest player to appear at the European Championships, Dutch defender Jetro Willems recreated history. In the 2012 edition of the tournament, Willems was introduced by then manager Bert van Marwijk.
The full-back had recently clinched the U-17 European Championship with the Netherlands. He had grabbed the attention of many with his mature performances for PSV Eindhoven too. Willems went on to make more than 140 appearances for PSV over six years. He also represented Newcastle United in the 2019-20 Premier League season. Currently, the 27-year-old plays for Bundesliga side Eintracht Frankfurt.
2. Jude Bellingham (England) – 17 years, 345 days
When the name Jude Bellingham did the rounds in the English media, it was certain that the boy had a genuine talent. His extraordinary displays for Birmingham City resulted in the club retiring his No. 22 shirt once he left for Borussia Dortmund.
Even at the Signal Iduna Park, Bellingham had a rocking start. Scoring on his debut for the club, he became their youngest goalscorer in history.
A solid 2020-21 domestic season earned him a call-up for The Three Lions. After making his debut appearance in the tournament, it remains to be seen whether the youngster can create more records at Euro 2020.
1. Kacper Kozlowski 17 years 236 days
Poland’s Kacper Kozlowski became the youngest player to ever appear in a game at the UEFA Euros. He came on as a substitute in the Polish second half of the nation’s game vs Spain in the second half.
He thus broke the record set by England’s Jude Bellingham, who is just 109 days older than him, just days before this match took place.
The teenage midfielder plays back in his homeland at Ekstraklasa club Pogon Szczecin. He made 20 appearances in the 20/21 season scoring one and assisting three.