Young Reds take to the biggest stage

Friday 18 November 2022 14:00

The youngest man ever to appear at a World Cup finals remains one of Manchester United's own in Norman Whiteside.

The Northern Ireland striker was 17 years and 41 days old when he represented his country in Spain, against Yugoslavia. At that point, the homegrown Reds youngster had only signed professional terms a month earlier and made two first-team appearances, one start, towards the end of the 1981/82 season, scoring against Stoke City on the final day of the campaign.

Nobody can break the record Norman took from the legendary Pele, this time around, with the youngest player in Qatar, Youssoufa Moukoko of Germany, turning 18 on Sunday.

However, in terms of United experience at the time of performing on the biggest stage, Facundo Pellistri is in line to make a World Cup finals outing before playing a senior game for the Reds.

The Uruguay winger has been on the bench for Erik ten Hag's side, and appeared in pre-season fixtures, but has yet to make his competitive debut for the club since arriving from Penarol in his homeland. The 20-year-old has had two loan spells with Alaves.

Watch a classic UTD Podcast with World Cup record-breaker Norman Whiteside.

Hannibal is younger than Pellistri, and the Birmingham City loanee will still be a teenager throughout the tournament, as he does not turn 20 until January.

The midfielder looks on course to play a prominent role for Tunisia, as they prepare for Group D clashes with Denmark, Australia and France.

In terms of his United minutes, he has only 76 of those (plus a short spell of injury time) under his belt in competitive football.

Hannibal will become only third United teenager to appear at a men's World Cup, following Whiteside and Adnan Januzaj, who was only 19 and four months when coming on as a 60th-minute substitute for Belgium, against South Korea in 2014.

England stars Wayne Rooney and Marcus Rashford are also among our youngest representatives at a finals, Sir Bobby Charlton was a similar age to them but did not play, despite being in Walter Winterbottom's 1958 squad for the event in Sweden.


1. Norman Whiteside (Northern Ireland) - 17 years, 41 days
2. Adnan Januzaj (Belgium) - 19 years 4, months, 21 days
3. Marcus Rashford (England) - 20 years 7 months, 18 days
4. Wayne Rooney (England) - 20 years, 7 months, 22 days

Christian Eriksen represented Denmark at the 2010 World Cup finals.

With regards to overall records, Christian Eriksen is currently still in the top 10 of youngest-ever players in the tournament - he was only 18 when picked by Denmark in 2010 and making a couple of substitute appearances.

Former United striker Michael Owen is the third-youngest scorer of all time, even if his famous goal for England against Argentina in the 1998 edition did come when he was still representing our fierce rivals Liverpool.