Five of the best teenage attacking stars in football history

Evan Ferguson’s reputation as one of world’s most exciting young footballers at just 18-years-old was cemented with a stunning hat-trick against Newcastle last week.

He is just the latest teenage wonderkid to burst onto the scene, as Micah Richards once, said. Here’s five other teenage attacking stars who performed well beyond their years at such a young age…

Wayne Rooney

Wayne Rooney’s memorable debut Premier League goal against Arsenal at just 16-years-old made the footballing world stand up and take notice of the young star, and that was followed up with another five league goals in the 2002/03 season.

The following campaign would see the Everton forward go from strength to strength, scoring nine top-flight goals and notching four assists to earn a move to Manchester United. The now DC United manager would go on to become the club’s all-time top goalscorer and is third in the list of all-time Premier League scorers, behind Harry Kane and Alan Shearer.

Michael Owen

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Michael Owen became Liverpool’s youngest ever scorer on his debut for the club in 1997 at the age of just 17, and finished as the Premier League’s joint top goalscorer in his first full season in the first team. He is also the youngest ever player to score a Premier League hat-trick at just 18-years-old, and would go on to have a successful career at Real Madrid, Newcastle, Manchester United and Stoke City despite struggling with persistent injury problems which eventually forced him to retire.

Jimmy Greaves

Legendary striker Jimmy Greaves was just 17 when he made his professional debut for Chelsea, on which he scored in a 1-1 draw with his future side Tottenham Hotspur. He would end the season as the club’s top scorer and continued to score at an incredible rate for the Blues before he completed a switch to Italian giants AC Milan.

Lionel Messi

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Perhaps the greatest footballer the world has ever seen, Messi was just 16-years-old when he made his Barcelona first-team debut and became, at the time, the club’s youngest ever scorer in 2005. Messi would truly establish himself in the first team at 18 years of age, forming a formidable front line with Ronaldinho and Samuel Eto’o, scoring eight goals in 25 games before his season ended abruptly due to injury. It was a sign of things to come for young Messi, who went on to become the best player in the world.


Brazillian footballing legend Pele played for Santos when he was just 15 and the Brazil national team at 16, the age in which he also scored his first goal for his country. He won the World Cup with his nation at just 17, scoring two goals in the final as Brazil overcame Sweden 5-2. Perhaps the greatest teenage football player in the history of the game.

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