Juventus’ Moise Kean started the ball rolling for players born in the year 2000, the Juventus youngster the first of his generation to appear in one of Europe’s five top leagues and the Champions League last term.
Manchester United’s Angel Gomes became the first post-millennium Premier League player with a late substitutes’ appearance in the Red Devils’ final game of last season, a 2-0 win at home to Crystal Palace.
The Londoner has been joined by Chelsea pair Ethan Ampadu and Callum Hudson-Odoi, Manchester City’s Phil Foden, and West Brom’s Rekeem Harper this season.
None of the above have yet managed to nail down a place at their principal employers, Kean being the most productive so far with 19 Serie A appearances and four goals on loan at Hellas Verona, but there is one 17-year-old out there that can top that.
Real Madrid loanee Martin Odegaard may be the most high-profile youngster at Eredivisie side Heerenveen, but the gifted 19-year-old has started three fewer league games than Dutch centre-half Kik Pierie this term.
27 games, 25 starts
The Boston-born Oranje U19 international has been ever present in De Superfriezen’s side alongside Danish international Daniel Hoegh, who’s almost a decade Pierie’s senior, since Joost van Aken’s move to Sheffield Wednesday two games into the current campaign.
His rapid progress has apparently caught United boss Jose Mourinho’s attention, with the Red Devils’ centre-half stocks looking questionable beyond Eric Bailly.
The Portuguese pugilist won’t have a clear run at Pierie though, with City and Chelsea also expected to develop their youth policies further by bidding for the 6ft starlet, who doesn’t turn 18 until five days after the World Cup final.
In other news, rumours of United’s interest in teenage Ajax hitman Justin Kluivert refuse to go away, with the Europa League holders reportedly dangling Amsterdam Arena old boy Daley Blind as bait.
Lastly, the question ‘what is the point of Man City’s academy’ must again be posed, with 19-year-old Dutch wing prospect Javairo Dilrosun likely to go the way of Jadon Sancho and leave the Etihad this summer without making a senior appearance.