Wayne Rooney is widely regarded as one of the finest players in English football history, having finished his international career with a record 53 goals to his name from 120 appearances.
His journey began in 2003, when he became the youngest player to ever represent the Three Lions at the age of 17 years and 111 days after coming off the bench in a friendly clash with Australia.
Rooney went on to break the record for England’s youngest scorer later that year, firing home in a European Championship qualifier against Macedonia.
Theo Walcott’s first taste of senior international football came when he received a surprise call up to Sven-Goran Eriksson’s England squad for the 2006 World Cup.
The former Southampton and Arsenal winger made his debut in a pre-tournament friendly against Hungary, breaking Rooney’s record as the youngest player to ever feature for the Three Lions at the age of 17 years and 75 days.
Walcott ended up being an unused substitute throughout that World Cup but did go on to win 47 caps for his country, scoring eight goals while also appearing at Euro 2012.
The man who finished third in Goal’s 2021 NxGn list has enjoyed a meteoric rise to prominence since joining Borussia Dortmund’s academy ranks in 2019.
Reyna had already represented the United States at U15, U16 and U17 level by that stage, and didn’t take long to earn a place in the senior setup.
The midfielder was rewarded for his performances for Dortmund with a USMNT call up in November 2020, and took his international bow the day before his 18th birthday in a 0-0 friendly draw against Wales.
Reyna has since recorded four goals in nine games for his country, with his next outing likely to come when Gregg Berhalter’s side resume their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign against Jamaica on Friday.
Portugal have boasted many world-class players during their history, from legends such as Eusebio to modern-day greats like Cristiano Ronaldo.
Paulo Futre was among those to make his mark for the southern European nation, as he initially became the youngest player in their history when making his international debut in April 1983.
The ex-Sporting CP and Atletico Madrid winger played 41 times for Portugal across his 12-year international career, scoring six goals, and appeared at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.
The latest teenager to step onto the senior stage with England is Bellingham, who began his career at Birmingham City in 2019 before being snapped up by German giants Borussia Dortmund for £20 million ($27m) a year later.
Gareth Southgate was quickly alerted to the midfielder’s talents and handed him his first international call up in November 2020 after James Ward-Prowse and Trent Alexander-Arnold were forced to pull out of his squad through injury.
Bellingham became England’s third-youngest debutant when he lined up in a friendly against the Republic of Ireland two months later, and broke the record for the youngest Three Lions player to feature at a major tournament when he came on against Croatia at this summer’s Euros.
Kacper Kozlowski is already reportedly attracting attention from top clubs across Europe, despite currently plying his trade with Polish outfit Pogon Szczecin.
Liverpool are among those being linked with the midfielder, who announced himself on the international stage at Euro 2020.
Kozlowski was called up for the tournament after previously representing Poland at youth level, and became the youngest man to ever play at the European Championships when coming off the bench in a 1-1 draw with Spain.
France supporters welcomed a new star in September last year as Eduardo Camavinga received his first call up to Didier Deschamps squad.
The midfielder had emerged as one of the brightest young prospects in Ligue 1 while on Rennes’ books at the time, and made his debut for Les Bleus in a 4-2 Nations’ League win over Croatia.
At 17 years and 303 days, Camavinga became the youngest France debutant in 96 years in the process, and has since made two more appearances for his country while earning a big-money move to Real Madrid.
Rafael Marquez enjoyed a sterling career at the highest level of the game spanning 22 years, starting out at Mexican club Atlas before spells at Monaco and Barcelona.
The towering centre-back, who played a key role in one of the most successful periods in Barca’s history, made his first appearance for Mexico as a 17-year-old back in 1997.
Marquez went on to become the third-most capped player in Mexico’s history and only the fourth man to ever play at five consecutive World Cup finals, finishing with a record of 17 goals from 147 appearances.
Fati has enjoyed a superb start to his professional career, having initially graduated to Barcelona’s first team after seven years in their La Masia academy.
The exciting young forward quickly established himself in Spain’s U21 set up too, before being asked to step up to the senior fold by Luis Enrique last summer.
Ansu became the second-youngest player to ever represent La Roja when he featured in a Nations’ League clash with Germany, and has since picked up three more caps for his country, scoring once.