Friday, October 21, 2011
Fee: £300,000 from Chester to Liverpool, aged 18, in 1980.
Rush began his playing career at Football League Third Division side Chester. After impressing in the youth ranks, he made his Chester debut in April 1979 against Sheffield Wednesday and went on to play 34 League games and score 14 goals before
Liverpool payed £300,000 for the 18-year-old in 1980. Rush finally made his Liverpool first-team debut five months after his arrival, in December 1980 in a league game at Ipswich Town, and though it took him a little while to get going he formed a memorable partnership with Kenny Dalglish. In the 1983-84 season Rush scored an incredible 47 goals as Liverpool won an unprecedented treble of League, European Cup and League Cup. Juventus paid £3.2m for him in 1987 and he scored 13 goals in his only season in Italy, before returning to Anfield in 1988. He eventually surpassed Roger Hunt's 245 goals to become the Reds' record hitman with 346 goals in 660 games. Rush won five First Division titles, five League Cups, three FA Cups, the European Cup and was the Club's top scorer nine times, during his incredible career with Liverpool, spanning fifteen seasons. Rush said farewell to Anfield on 20th May 1996.
Fee: £250,000 from Crystal Palace to Manchester City, aged, 17 in 1979.
After beginning as an apprentice at Crystal Palace, MacKenzie was just a 17-year-old trainee when Manchester City decided to spend a quarter of a million pounds on the Palace midfielder in 1979 - although he had yet to play a single Football League match, so it really was a huge gamble at the time. He gained a reputation for scoring spectacular goals, most notably in the 1981 FA Cup Final replay against Tottenham Hotspur. He left City after two seasons to join West Bromwich Albion where he spent six seasons at the Hawthorns before joining Charlton Athletic. He later had spells with Sheffield Wednesday and Shrewsbury Town. He made 353 career appearances between 1979 and 1994, scoring 41 goals.
Fee: £3.3 million from Tranmere Rovers to Everton, aged 19, in 1998.
After being released by Nottingham Forest, he started his career at Tranmere Rovers in August 1996 as a trainee. By November 1996 Simonsen had already made his League debut for the club.
At the age of 19, and after just 42 league and cup appearances for the Tranmere first-team, Simonsen was bought by Everton for a record breaking £3.3 million in September 1998 and became Britain's most expensive teenager and goalkeeper.
But despite the price-tag he did not make his Everton debut until the 1999–2000 season, in a League Cup tie against Oxford United. In six seasons at Everton he played just 37 times in all competitions and football's forgotten teenager was given a free transfer to Stoke City in 2004. Simonsen was named as Stoke City player's player of the season in the 2004–05 season. He left Stoke in July 2010 on a free transfer after spending six years at the Potters, and making almost 200 appearances.
He currently plys his trade with League One side Sheffield United.
Fee: £25.6 million from Everton to Manchester United, aged 18, in 2004.
His senior debut for Everton came on 17th August 2002 in a 2–2 home draw against Tottenham. His first senior goals came on 2nd October 2002 as he scored twice in a 3–0 win at Wrexham in the League Cup. These goals meant that Rooney was Everton's youngest-ever goalscorer at the time. On the 19th October, five days before his 17th birthday, Rooney scored a last-minute winning goal against Arsenal.
Rooney signed for Manchester United in 2004 for a fee in excess of £25 million.
He scored a hat-trick on his United debut against Fenerbahce in the Champions League. These goals made Rooney the youngest player to score a hat-trick in the Champions League aged 18 years 335 days.
For his club at least has hardly looked back since. Between 2006-2009 he formed an lethal attacking partnership with Cristiano Ronaldo, in a United side that won a hat-trick of Premier League titles and the Champions League.
The striker has struggled to hit these dizzy heights in the last couple of seasons, but he still holds an impressive career record of 158 goals in 332 appearances for the Red Devils.
Fee: £250,000 from Oldham Athletic to Liverpool, aged, 17 in 1985.
At £250,000 Harrison became the most expensive 17-year-old footballer in the world when he signed for Liverpool in 1985. Harrison had only made five first team appearances for the Latics, though it included a virtuoso performance against the Reds in an FA Youth Cup match. However, injuries wrecked any chance of appearing in a competitive match for Liverpool. First came a horrid fall through a greenhouse where he almost died as a result of loss of blood. Thereafter he suffered double hernia, cartilage, knee and shoulder injuries and on the last reserve game of the 1989-90 season he shattered his knee against Bradford.
After having undergone 23 operations at Anfield, there was no way back for Harrison and he had to retire from football at just 22 years of age. The player's plight was alleviated somewhat by a testimonial game between Oldham and Liverpool in 1992, but sadly Harrison was not even fit enough to turn out on the field for a token appearance.
Fee: £5 million (plus clauses) from Southampton to Arsenal, aged 16, in 2006.
Walcott was a product of the Southampton F.C. Academy. The striker became the youngest-ever player at 16 years and 143 days to feature for the Southampton first team, after coming on as a substitute in Southampton's 0–0 draw at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers in the Football League Championship in 2005.
Sven-Goran Eriksson shocked the footballing world by naming the 17-year-old in his 2006 World Cup squad, just five months after Arsenal signed him from Championship side Southampton and before he had even made his Gunners' debut.
On 30 May 2006, Walcott became England's youngest ever senior football player by appearing in a 3–1 friendly win over Hungary at Old Trafford at the age of 17 years and 75 days. Four years later he wasn't even in Fabio Capello's 2010 squad.
He still hasn't hit the expected heights since, due in part to injuries, but Walcott has shown flashes of brilliance. Most notably he produced a stand-out performance against Liverpool in the Champions League, while for England he hit a hat-trick in September 2008 against Croatia in Zagreb to underline his ability.
Fee: £2 million from Notts County to Arsenal, aged 15, in 1999.
Arsenal paid Notts County £2.5m in 1999 for the 15-year-old midfielder, which was a record for a trainee. After the youngster's two spells on loan at Watford and a substitute appearance for the Gunners against Middlesbrough in the League Cup when he was just 16 years 319 days. He scored a hat-trick for Arsene Wenger's side on his full Premier League debut against Southampton in May 2003. Disciplinary problems, including serving 31 days of a three-month prison sentence while on loan at Birmingham City in 2005, has seen him play for six clubs since leaving north London to join the Blues, including three seasons at Liverpool and a spell in Spain with Real Zaragoza.
He is now plying his trade at Stoke City and featured in the 2011 FA Cup final.
Initial fee: £8.1 million from Ipswich Town to Sunderland, aged 18, in 2011.
After joining Ipswich as a trainee in July 2008, the striker made 72 first-team appearances, coming off the bench 33 times and scoring a total of 15 goals.
Wickham made his first-team debut for Ipswich at the age of 16 years and 11 days against Doncaster Rovers in April 2009.
In May 2010 Wickham helped England to victory in the European Under-17 Championship, scoring the winning goal as they beat Spain 2-1 in the final.
On 29 June 2011, Wickham signed a four year deal with Premier League club Sunderland for a fee of £8 million. The fee has the potential to rise to £12 million over the course of the contract. Wickham made his first competitive appearance for Sunderland when he came on as a substitute in the 1–0 defeat to Newcastle United in the Tyne–Wear derby on 20 August 2011.
Fee: £5 million from Southampton to Tottenham, aged 17, in 2007.
At 16 Bale became the second youngest player after Theo Walcott to play for Southampton when he made his debut against Millwall. His efforts on the south coast were enough to persuade Spurs to spend £5m on him a year later, fending off interest from Manchester United
On a personal level the winger got off to a good start scoring in three of his first five games.
But Spurs were beginning a downturn in fortunes and they failed to win a single game in any of Bale's first 24 Premier League matches he played – a record!
Rumours of a loan move to the Championship were rife just last year, but an injury to Benoit Assou-Ekotto gave him a rare run in the team and he hasn't lost his place since. Last season he captivated the world with stunning performances in the Champions League and topped his year off by picking up the PFA Player of the Year award.
Initial Fee: £1.5 million from Millwall to Liverpool, aged 18, in 1995.
Kennedy began his professional career at Millwall, making his senior debut in April 1993 in a win over Charlton, when still only 16. Kennedy joined Liverpool in March 1995 for an initial £1.5 million fee (potentially rising to £2.3 million), making him then the most expensive teenage footballer in British history.
However, opportunities at Anfield were scarce, as he failed to fit into a midfield boasting the likes of Steve McManaman, Patrik Berger and John Barnes. Kennedy was in the starting line-up four times in his first season, but astonishingly was given only one chance in the first eleven over the next three seasons. In total he managed just 21 appearances in all competitions.
In the summer of 1998 he was transferred to Wimbledon for a fee in excess of what Liverpool initially paid for him, despite only making fleeting appearances for the Reds!
Kennedy only spent one season at Wimbledon before signing for Manchester City. Kennedy's career has also seen him turn out for Wolves, Crystal Palace and Cardiff. Kennedy, now 35 currently plays for Championship side Ipswich Town.