Lamine Yamal: Who are some of the youngest players to represent their country in international football?

If Lamine Yamal, a winger for Barcelona, makes his debut for Spain in the Euro 2024 qualifier that will take place on Friday in Georgia, he has a chance to become the youngest player in Spain’s whole history.

At the time of the game, he will be just 16 years old and 57 days old, which would shatter the record that his current teammate at Barcelona, Gavi, set in 2021 when he was 17 years and 62 days old.

BBC Sport takes a look at some other male players aged 16 or younger who have played senior international football for their respective countries.

Harry Wilson represents Wales.

while Harry Wilson was only 16 years old and 207 days old, Wales gave him his international debut against Belgium in October 2013, while he was the midfielder for Liverpool. Prior to that, he had never even played a game for his club.

That is 108 days faster than Gareth Bale’s previous record for Wales.

Up until the 87th minute, when he came off the bench to play for England, there had been rumors that England might have tried to call up Wilson, who was qualified because of his grandpa.

When Wilson was a little child, his grandfather Peter Edwards placed a bet with odds of 2,500 to 1 on Wilson playing for Wales. The wager was for £50, and Edwards won £125,000.

Wilson would not be eligible for any national team assignment for another five years.

Sam Johnston represents Ireland.
Sam Johnston, who was 15 years old and 153 days old at the time, participated in Ireland’s first ever international match, which was a loss to England by the score of 13-0 in 1882.

This record has never been beaten, and the Distillery forward who held it at the time of his death in 1910 is believed to be the youngest player to represent Europe at the international level.

Long before Ireland achieved its independence, the Irish Football Association managed that squad, which kept using the name Ireland until 1954, when it was officially rebranded as the Northern Ireland national football team.

Between the years 1882 and 1886, Belfast’s Johnston would earn a total of five caps and score twice. Sadly, his squad was unable to win any of their five matches and ended up losing by a combined total of 41 points.

Martin Odegaard, Representing Norway

Martin Odegaard, then a midfielder for Stromsgodset and currently the captain of Arsenal, made his international debut for Norway when he was 15 years and 253 days old. He played all 90 minutes of a friendly match against the United Arab Emirates in August of 2014.

At that point, he had already participated in 14 games for his club.

Later on in that year, he became the youngest player ever to compete in a European Championship qualifying match when his team beat Bulgaria in Oslo. He was 15 years old and 300 days old at the time.

At the age of 24, he already has 51 wins to his credit.

Pele, from Brazil

On July 7, 1957, the young Santos forward Pele made his debut for Brazil at the age of 16 years and nine months. He would go on to become one of the most famous people in the world the following year.

He scored that day against Argentina at the Maracana, and it was a portent of the great things that were to come for him in the future.

Pele was only 17 years old when he participated in the 1958 World Cup. During the tournament, he scored a hat trick against France in the semi-finals and scored twice against Sweden, the hosts of the event, in the championship game.

He added two more World Cup victories with the Selecao, but it was perhaps the heroics of the teenage Pele that were the most jaw-dropping of his spectacular career. He was the first player in history to score a hat trick in a World Cup game.

Samuel Eto’o, who hails from Cameroon

Samuel Eto’o, who was a youth player for Real Madrid at the time, made his debut for Cameroon in a friendly match against Costa Rica in 1997, one day before he turned 16 years old. Cameroon lost the match 5-0.

The striker, who established his name playing for Barcelona, went on to become the all-time leading scorer for his country with 56 goals in 118 total appearances and is now the head of the Cameroonian Football Federation.

Maradona, who plays for Argentina; Diego

When Diego Maradona, then playing for Argentinos Juniors, made his first appearance for Argentina in a friendly match against Hungary in 1977, he was 16 years and 120 days old.

After two years, he scored his first goal for his country in a match against Scotland.

Later in life, he would become a football icon and lead his country to victory at the World Cup in 1986 while serving as captain.

Maradona, who played for his country 91 times and scored 34 goals, coached the national team from 2008 to 2010 and passed away in 2020.

Lucas Knecht, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands

It is believed that Lucas Knecht, who played for Northern Mariana Islands in a loss to Guam in the preliminary stage of the East Asian Football Championship on April 1, 2007, when he was 14 years and two days old, holds the record for the youngest player to appear for a male national team in men’s international football.

Despite this, the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands, which is part of the United States and has its own government, is not a member of Fifa.

According to the statistics at RSSSF, there have been three 14-year-olds who have played for the national team. Joel Fruit and Kennedy Izuka both made their debuts for the national team in a game that took place in November 2012 against Guam. They only dropped this match by a score of 8-0.

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