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Hall of Fame - The Young Ones


Around fifty players have made their debut for Northern Ireland before their twentieth birthdays. The following is a list of those that were under eighteen...

Player

(Club)

Born

Debut

Age

Sam Johnston

Distillery

18/09/1866

18/02/1882

15 Yrs 154 Dys*

Norman Whiteside

Man. United

07/05/1965

17/06/1982

17 Yrs 41 Dys^

Sam Burnison

Distillery

30/11/1890

15/02/1908

17 Yrs 77 Dys

George.Gaukrodger 

Linfield

07/12/1877

16/03/1895

17 Yrs 99 Dys**

William Gibson

Cliftonville

01/10/1876

24/02/1894

17 Yrs 146 Dys#

Hymie McKee

Cliftonville

16/09/1877

09/03/1895

17 Yrs 174 Dys

Sammy McIlroy

Man. United

02/08/1954

16/02/1972

17 Yrs 198 Dys

Johnny Gorman

Wolves

26/10/1992

26/05/2010

17 Yrs 212 Dys

Jim Nicholson

Man. United

27/02/1943

09/11/1960

17 Yrs 256 Dys

Tom Mulholland

Belfast Celtic

13/04/1888

17/02/1906

17 Yrs 310 Dys

Conor Bradley

Liverpool

30/05/2003

30/05/2021

17 Yrs 325 Dys

Shane Ferguson

Newcastle

12/07/1991

06/06/2009

17 Yrs 329 Dys

Dale Taylor

Nott’m Forest

12/12/2003

12/11/2003

17 Yrs 335 Dys

Olphie Stanfield

Distillery

26/02/1869

05/02/1887

17 Yrs 344 Dys

Josh Carson

Ipswich T.

03/06/1993

24/05/2011

17 Yrs 355 Dys

George Best

Man. United

22/05/1946

15/04/1964

17 Yrs 329 Dys

* Scored on his second appearance, making him Ireland's youngest ever goalscorer.
** Scored on his debut, thus making him the second youngest goalscorer in (Northern) Ireland's history.

# The only other player to score an international goal for Ireland prior to his eighteenth birthday was William Gibson, who scored on his second appearance at the age of 17 years and 153 days.
^ Whiteside's debut against Yugoslavia at the Espana 82 made him the youngest player ever to appear at a World Cup Finals, beating the record previously held by Pele. In the same match he also became the youngest Northern Ireland player to collect a booking.

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