Glenavon striker Christopher Atherton becomes youngest senior player in UK at 13 years

Northern Irish schoolboy Christopher Atherton became the youngest senior footballer in the United Kingdom at 13 years and 329 days old when he played for Glenavon on Tuesday.

The teenage forward came on as a second-half substitute in their 6-0 win over Dollingstown in the League Cup.

And he made a quick impact, providing an assist for Glenavon’s sixth goal.

Atherton breaks the record set by Jordan Allan, who played for Airdrie aged 14 years and 191 days.

Allan made his debut for Airdrie against Livingston in April 2013.

After making his debut, Atherton missed out on becoming the youngest senior player in the world by just 10 days.

The record is held by Souleymane Mamam, who played for Togo in a World Cup qualifier against Zambia in May 2001 at 13 years and 319 days.

Glenavon manager Gary Hamilton said the teenager was set to become the youngest player in the world in April if he had not been away for the final game of the season.

“A lot of us at that age would have been dreaming of becoming a footballer and playing for a first team, thinking it is a million miles away,” Hamilton told Glenavon’s YouTube channel.

“I had no doubt that if we got ahead in the game then I could bring him on because he was comfortable to train with the first team before the last match of last season.

“Only he had to go to watch Celtic with his Dad he would have played in that match as well, as it was the last match of the season and at that stage there was nothing to play for with seventh place already secured.

“We were planning on giving him his debut then which would have made him the youngest player in the world, but unfortunately he is just going to have to settle with being the youngest player in the UK.”