Owen, Edwards, Greaves and England's Top Teen Spirits


Raheem Sterling could become the second youngest ever England international against Sweden on Wednesday evening. To commemorate as much, here's our lowdown of the Three Lions' five most inspired teenage debutantes...

5. Michael Owen - 18 years & 60 days

It came as little surprise when the 18-year-old was called upon by Glenn Hoddle in the run up to the 1998 World Cup - Owen had been in scintilating form for his club, Liverpool, becoming the Premier League's top scorer in his first season as a professional. Hoddle's gamble paid huge dividends at the summer finals in France, as the baby-faced forward lit up the tournament with goals like this...

 

4. Jack Wilshere - 18 years & 223 days

Hailed as the future of English football, 18-year-old Jack was fast-tracked into Fabio Capello's line-up during qualification for Euro 2012 and produced some impressive displays to boot. Injury forced him out of the tournament proper, however, and sadly we are yet to see the Arsenal playmaker back in action thus far. That said, there is no doubt Wilshere, now 20, will add significantly to his current collection of five England caps in the coming decade.

3. Duncan Edwards - 18 years & 183 days

A tragic victim of the Munich air disaster, Edwards' life was cruelly cut short in 1958, and with it went one of the most promising careers in the history of British football. The Manchester United midfielder, who was 21 when he died, had made his debut for the Three Lions at the tender age of 18, but looked every inch a legend in the making during his 15 international appearances.   

2. Wayne Rooney - 17 years & 111 days

A veritable man-child, 17-year-old Rooney's inclusion in the full England set-up was a less a shock and more a no-brainer, such was his impact at Everton in 2003. The teenage ace made his debut in a friendly against Australia that winter and went on to star for England the following summer at Euro 2004.

1. Jimmy Greaves - 19 years & 86 days

Thrust into the limelight thanks to his 1959 call-up, goal machine Greaves remains one of the most talented finishers the British Isles has ever produced. His eventual haul of 44 international goals included six hat-tricks, and came in an all-too-short eight-year international career that was blighted by his ommision from the 1966 World Cup final line-up.