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Season 2011/12

Teen stars who have lit up Blues

  • 28 September 2011 13:39
  • Posted by David Clayton

Karim Rekik’s debut aged 16 may have set a new Club record for the youngest overseas player, but teen debuts are not uncommon.

Only Rekik, Glyn Pardoe and Tommy Caton have played while aged 16 or under, with Pardoe starting his senior career as a 15-year-old and Caton breaking into the senior team aged 16 and 316 days.

Both Pardoe and Caton went on to have long, successful careers with Pardoe playing 376 times over a 15-year period and Caton making just two short of 200 appearances between 1979 and 1983 before being sold to Arsenal for £500,000.

Sadly, Caton, one of City’s youngest captains ever, died aged 28 of a heart-attack.

Other notable successes from teenage debuts include Alan Oakes – the Blues’ record appearance holder with 669 games played over an astonishing 18-year period.

Oakes had been 17 for just 27 days when he began his career in the first-team

...Teenage Blues.

Midfielder Gary Owen was 17 and eight months old when he broke through and went on to play 124 times while Steve Mackenzie was only 17 when he was signed from Crystal Palace for £250,000 in 1979.

The first Academy graduate was Shaun Wright-Phillips and Wrighty broke through aged 17 in 1998 and he also went on to win the MCFC Young Player of the Year for four years running.

In more recent times, Micah Richards made his debut – also aged 17 – against Arsenal and Daniel Sturridge was the same age when he burst into the senior team against Reading in February 2007.

All in all, quite an illustrious list of names to follow for young Rekik – but if he can prove to be as successful as any of the players named above, he’ll have a long and enjoyable career.

Watch out for our special tribute to 'The Graduates', starting next Wednesday where we'll look at the 40 youngsters who have come through the ranks since 1998.


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