Who will become the Premier League's first 21st-century boy?
Dominic Thill became the first football player born this millennium to appear in any of Europe’s top five leagues on Wednesday, playing for Metz in Ligue 1, and it got us thinking: where is the Premier League’s first 21st-century boy going to appear from?
Well don’t panic, but it’s not immediately obvious. Though we do have a couple of ideas…
The Safe Bet
If you’re looking to play the odds, West Brom’s baby left-back Kane Wilson is probably the front runner. The 16-year-old, born on March 11 2000, received his GCSE results this summer, and earned his first senior football appearance just a week later, in the Baggies’ EFL Cup defeat to Northampton Town.
Having come through the West Brom academy, Wilson has featured on the bench against Crystal Palace, Everton and Middlesbrough, but has yet to be unleashed from his bib.
A League Below
While Wilson sits and waits, Ryan Sessegnon is out there working for his chance to become the Premier League’s millennial debutant.
The Fulham youngster has already scored twice this season for the Cottagers in the Championship, and in doing so became the first professional footballer born this century to score in a first-team game. He’s played at under-16 and under-17 level for England, but the Premier League remains elusive.
Where better to look than the Premier League creche? Manchester City and Manchester United unsurprisingly have a few players on the factory line who make Marcus Rashford and Kelechi Iheanacho look like stalwarts of the game.
Manchester City’s Ian Carlo Poveda is one who, in between watching The Simpsons and reading comics (we assume), has been scoring goals at under-18 level, netting once against Everton and twice in a 7-0 win against Liverpool.
Another is Angel Gomes, who takes time out from being ridiculously young to score goals for Manchester United’s under-18s. Both were born in 2000, and both look like having big futures.
The Ineligible One
At the end of the 2015/16 season, with 75 minutes of Bury’s game against Southend gone, young Callum Styles made his first appearance for the Shakers. In doing so, he became the first player born in the 21st century to appear in the English Football League.
But an error had been made. Styles had not been properly registered, and as a result after the season had finished Bury were strangely docked three points from their 2015/16 total.
So who could it be? Your guess is as good as ours.