Ines Sali is not as young as Martin Odegaard in 2014, but the 15-year-old Romanian player makes it to the list of very young internationals. Canadian-born national coach Merrill Radoy, founders of Barcelona’s famous football academy La Masia, allowed his debut tonight with a short substitute against Liechtenstein. Today, Sally’s age is 15 years 261 days. These are the youngest-ever debutants in international football.
Sally came tonight in Vaduz in the 82nd minute by Andre Ivan. National coach Meryl Radoy’s side was already 0-2 ahead at the time thanks to goals from Dennis Mann and Nikkore Banquo.
Statistics factory Gracenote does not dare to put his hand on fire – historical data is not known to all countries – but the 30 best books from the record book of the youngest international players will never reach the very young Enes Sali around the world.
Sali does not appear at the top of a large list of freshmen from the most exotic parts of the world. The youngest ever international player, as far as Gracenote knows, is Lucas Knecht. The US-born defender played on behalf of the Northern Mariana Islands in the international match against Guam on 1 April 2007. Knecht was 14 years and 2 days old during the 9-0 loss.
At the top of the ranking (see the top five in the table below), it’s also teeming with boy names from countries such as the Turks and Caicos Islands, Benin or Myanmar. Little has been heard of Van Knecht since then. He kept his own wiki page and entry in the Northern Mariana Islands shirt after debuting as a puberty Guinness Book of Records On.
If we look only at Europe, then Enes Sali’s debut certainly deserves a mention. Including international friendlies, Farol Constanta, club of Romanian legend Gheorghe Hagi, is behind Martin Odegaard, the Norwegian who was 15 years and 253 days old on August 27, 2014 when he made his debut against the United Arab Emirates.
If we take only the so-called competitive international matches, then Sally is the youngest European player ever. Ødegaard was 15 years and 300 days old when he played his first competitive international match, in the 2014 European Championship qualifier against Bulgaria. Tonight Sally is 39 days younger.
Orange’s youngest international is Hagenar Mauck Webber at 90 years old, he was 17 years 3 months and 14 days old when the ADO defender made his debut against Denmark on June 14, 1931 in Copenhagen.
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