After Nelson Agho became the club’s youngest ever first-team player we take a look at some other teenage debutants…
The midfielder held the record of youngest first-teamer from 1968 until this season. He had played in a game against Newport County aged just 15 years and 347 days. However, despite that start the Scottish winger was released in the summer after just eight games for the club.
The striker was such a fixture at the club it’s sometimes easy to forget that Paynter made his debut aged just 16 years and 294 days of age – the youngest debutant for twenty years. That debut came in 2001 and Paynter was to remain for another 157 games during which time he also picked up a player of the year award.
Another player who has a lengthy connection with the club, Cullerton made his debut in 1967 aged just 17 in a frontline consisting of four other teenagers. Cullerton ended up with two spells at the club during which he netted 58 goals. He later became commercial manager and also a match summariser on BBC Radio Stoke
Just like Cullerton, Lloyd’s debut was also with players of the same age group. In a double substitution Lloyd (17 years and 87 days) plus Joe Davis (17 years and 170 days) both made their debut against Morecambe in 2011/ Lloyd floated around the Vale first-team for another six years before being released in 2017. He later joined Macclesfield Town.
Yet another youngster to progress through the junior ranks, Birchall made his debut in 2001 aged just 17 and four months and went on to become the club’s all-time International appearance holder. In two spells with the club he made 176 appearances and scored 17 times.