FEATURE: Etherington is an exception to the rule governing young Peterborough United debutants

The youngest Posh player Matthew Etherington went on to play in the Premier League for Spurs, Stoke and West Ham.
The youngest Posh player Matthew Etherington went on to play in the Premier League for Spurs, Stoke and West Ham.
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Making your professional debut for Peterborough United at an early age is no guarantee of a stellar professional career.

Midfielder Andrea Borg and left-back Lewis Freestone made their first appearances for Posh in the Good Friday defeat by Fleetwood, but they have plenty of work to do to turn early promise into long and fulfilling careers

The second youngest Posh player Charlie Coulson now plays for Deeping Rangers of the United Counties League.

The second youngest Posh player Charlie Coulson now plays for Deeping Rangers of the United Counties League.

While the club’s youngest player of their Football League era Matthew Etherington did reach the heights of the Premier League, the rest of the Posh top 20 youngest players have experienced mixed careers.

Some like Keith Oakes (7th), Steve Collins (14th), Mark Tyler (19th) and Matthew Gill (20th) enjoyed long spells as strong lower division players, while others like Mark Heeley (6th), Andy Furnell (8th) and Ryan Semple (16th) didn’t fulfil early promise.

Some make one appearance and disappear like goalkeeper Steve Zenchuk (11th) who famously deputised for David Seaman in a game at Blackpool, finished on the winning side, and was never seen again before becoming a Peterborough League striker with Perkins.

Charlie Coulson is second on the Posh list and is now at United Counties League Deeping Rangers, while Richard Sutton (12th) started a game at Aldershot, but was substituted after 28 minutes and never selected again.

Andrew Borg during his Posh debut against Fleetwood.

Andrew Borg during his Posh debut against Fleetwood.

David Billington (10th) was thought to be on the verge of a top career, but he picked up an injury which forced an early retirement soon after a big money move to Sheffield Wednesday.

Current players Leo Da Silva Lopes (3rd), Jermaine Anderson (4th) and Kasey Douglas (5th) are all in the top 20 youngest Posh players.

Andrea Borg has entered the chart at 18th with Lewis Freestone in 21st place.

YOUNGEST POSH DEBUTANTS

Lewis Freestone after his Posh debut against Fleetwood.

Lewis Freestone after his Posh debut against Fleetwood.

(Football League era)

1 Matthew Etherington (15 years, 8 months, 20 days) 1997

2 Charlie Coulson (16 years, 3 months, 10 days) 2012

3 Leo Da Silva Lopes (16 years, 4 months, 25 days) 2015

4 Jermaine Anderson (16 years, 6 months, 1 day) 2012

5 Kasey Douglas (16 years, 7 months, 0 days) 2016

6 Mark Heeley (16 years, 7 months, 16 days) 1976

7 Keith Oakes (16 years, 8 months, 6 days) 1973

8 Andy Furnell (16 years, 9 months, 14 days) 1993

9 Jaanai Gordon (16 years, 9 months, 15 days) 2012

10 David Billington (16 years, 11 months, 3 days) 1996

11 Steve Zenchuk (17 years, 0 months, 14 days) 1983

12 Richard Sutton (17 years, 0 months, 20 days) 1982

13 Paddy Rayment (17 years, 0 months, 28 days) 1982

14 Steve Collins (17 years, 1 month, 7 days) 1979

15 Paul Bryant (17 years, 3 months, 7 days) 1986

16 Ryan Semple (17 years, 3 months, 22 days) 2002

17 Mick Nuttell (17 years, 4 months, 25 days) 1986

18 Andrea Borg (17 years, 5 months, 2 days) 2017

19 Mark Tyler (17 years, 5 months, 16 days) 1994

20 Matthew Gill (17 years, 5 months, 17 days) 1998

21 Lewis Freestone (17 years, 5 months, 19 days) 2017