Only the good debut young

Perth Glory handed Jacob Italiano his first-grade debut in their 2-0 loss to Melbourne Victory. At 16 years, three months, and 20 days old, the forward became the fourth youngest player to debut in A-League history and just the second millennial to play in the league. While it will seem cool for Italiano to debut, and it will certainly help his chances with da ladies, there’s a common sign for players who debut as a teenager in the A-League… and it’s not good.

Below are the five youngest A-League debutants in 13 years. Make of this what you will, but three of these players are no longer playing top flight football.

Alusine Fofanah
Alusine Fofanah is the youngest player to take to the field in the A-League, debuting in January 2014 at just 15 years, six months, and five days old. His 60 minutes in a 1-0 loss to Adelaide United was his only appearance in the 2013-14, he made a further four appearances in the 2014-15 season before being released by the club in 2016. Fofanah, now 19, plies his trade for Heidelberg United in the Victorian National Premier League.

Teeboy Kamara
Before Storm Roux, Teeboy Kamara arguably had the coolest name in the A-League. Kamara made his debut for Adelaide  in December 2011 at 15 years, six months, and 29 days old. He played 29 minutes in a 3-0 loss to Gold Coast United but never appeared in the A-League again and was released in. He left the club in 2014 when his football career was cut short due to a kidney issues. Now 21, Kamara plays with Stirling Lions in Western Australia.

Daniel de Silva
The exception to the rule, a lot has been expected of Daniel de Silva since debuting for Perth Glory in 2013 at 15 years, 11 months, and 27 days. De Silva made 32 appearances for the Glory, played at the 2013 U-20 World Cup before signing with Italian giants AS Roma, then not signing for them, being loaned to Roda JC in the Eredivisie where he played 16 matches under Wellington Phoenix coach Darije Kalezic. Now 20 years old, de Silva is playing good football under Paul Okon with the Central Coast Mariners.

Daniel Alessi
Like Fofanah, Daniel Alessi made his debut for Western Sydney Wanderers in the 2013-14 season, at 16 years, four months, and 16 days old. He made seven A-League appearances in two seasons before joining the Newcastle Jets in the 2016-17 season. However injuries have plagued the young defender who is yet to make an appearance for the club.

James Virgili
Speaking of Newcastle, James Virgili burst onto the scene in 2009 aged 16 years, five months, and 27 days. The local junior actually spent several seasons in Australia’s top flight making 57 appearances between 2009 and 2015. The winger failed to score and only started 22 matches. He has since returned, and enjoyed success in the Northern NSW Premier League with Broadmeadow Magic.

Out of the five youngest players to debut in the A-League only one so far has made a name for himself which doesn’t exactly bode well for Italiano. However plenty of A-League players have debuted as a teenager (albeit a couple years older) and have had success not just in Australia, but have played overseas and for the Socceroos. Only time will tell whether we’ll watch Italiano grow up or we’ll seeing him reappear in the FFA Cup hoping to get an A-League deal in a few years time.

Of course Italiano is not the first teenager to debut in the A-League, can you name the 20 youngest debutants? Test your knowledge below.

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