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Teenager breaks record as UK’s youngest senior footballer and had debut to remember

Glenavon teenager Christopher Atherton breaks the record as the UK’s youngest senior footballer and also had a debut to remember.

Aged just 13 and 329 days, Atherton became the youngest footballer to feature in a senior match in the United Kingdom when he replaced Jack Malone in the 75th minute,.

Atherton’s appearance beat the record set by Eamon Collins when he made his Blackpool debut in September 1980. At the time, Collins was 14 years and 323 days old, according to statistics guru Marshall Gillespie.

The youngster, who is in Year 9 at school, made an instant impact too, providing an assist, setting up veteran Matthew Snoody for Glenavon’s sixth and final goal of the Irish League Cup clash with Dollingstown. The other goals were scored by Conor Scannell (2), Josh Doyle, Micheal Glynn and Aaron Prendergast.

Christopher has enjoyed trials at several cross channel clubs, including Scottish side Dundee United according to the Belfast Telegraph, and appears to be highly-rated.

It is claimed the world record for the youngest professional player was set by 11-year-old Eric Godpower Marshall last year when he played for Liberian side Gar’ou against Haifa FC.

He beat the record previously held by a 12-year-old Bolivian Mauricio Baldivieso, who played for Club Aurora against La Paz in July 2009.

In the Premier League, the youngest ever player is Harvey Elliott, who played for Fulham aged 16 years and 30 days.

He is also the holder of another record, having become the youngest ever player to feature in the League Cup in September 2018, at 15 years and 174 days.

On the 30th of September 2008, Reuben Noble-Lazarus became the youngest player to debut in the English Football League, at 15 years and 45 days old, breaking the record previously established by Albert Geldard in 1929.

On Christopher Atherton’s debut, Glenavon’s Twitter account said: ‘Also, not to mention, his first touch of the ball tonight was an assist! What an amazing debut!!’

There was plenty of reaction as the teenager breaks a record as the UK’s youngest senior footballer and had a debut to remember…

@josemcdonnell87: Fantastic wee Chris. Brilliant night for him and his family

@LauraMo15564599: Well done Christo! What an achievement

@mickT070777: Roy of the Rovers stuff!!! Well Done Christopher. Work hard and enjoy your football.

@mksavage73: Well done young man, a fantastic achievement 👏

@docccs: This is mental. Everyone will their own opinion but it’s a 👎🏼 from me. A publicity stunt which could have went down very badly had the boy got injured.

@Stephen07242491: Unbelievable lad well done 👍🏻 🐓

@JWilliamson99: Assist with his first touch too 👏🏼

@isaac_fellick: Dangerous if he gets folded in half by a big 6 ft unit

@C_Dickson10: Im sorry any kid at nearly 14 isn’t ready to play mens football, the physical side could see the kid get a serious injury. Clearly the club are trying to get a bigger fee from a premier league club most likely by putting into the game

@donalgreene: Thoughts on this? I remember Evan Ferguson playing a friendly for Bohs at 14 but to be fair he was already bigger than most men. Imagine a 30 year old right back going into a 50/50 tackle with this child – wouldn’t end well.

@weestigs82: Brilliant achievement ..but lads come on 13? Just to early in my eyes regardless of how talented he is

@KarlTho05554124: Congratulations young Chris bright future ahead

@sth_dy_: Imagine an Under 14 playing Senior football. This is absolute madness

@BlairMcNally1: Wow 🤯 Go on lad 👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻

@RO88YMITCHELL: Must be some baller

@morriliam: Absolutely fantastic, great to see

@Egiesteven: 13. Unbelievable

@nobby_hammer: @WestHam here’s your next Northern Ireland based player… sign him up soon!!

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