West Brom schoolboy Isaiah Brown could become the youngest player in Premier League history tomorrow after being handed a dream call-up for the trip to Chelsea.
The Baggies have gained permission to take the 16-year-old out of school to train and travel to Stamford Bridge, where he would become the club’s youngest ever league player and their youngest in any first-team match for more than 70 years.
The England Under-17 international has been added to the squad as cover with boss Steve Clarke sweating on several injury problems.
Peterborough-born Brown has been with Albion’s academy for three years and his performances for the Baggies’ under-18 and under-21 sides have already brought interest from Arsenal.
Boss Steve Clarke said: “‘Izzy’ has been fantastic coming through the youth team and quickly into the under-21s and he’s put in some really good performances recently.
“He might not be involved in the final selection, but the experience will be good for the boy and good for the club.”
Brown is midway through his GCSEs but Albion’s new status as a category one academy under the elite player performance plan allows the club to take over young players’ academic studies.
He is likely to figure on the bench at Chelsea with striker Shane Long among those struggling and an appearance at 16 years and 54 days old would make Brown the Baggies’ second youngest first-team player after Frank Hodgetts, who played at 16 years and 26 days.
Hodgetts’ appearance came in a wartime regional game against Notts County in 1940 so Brown would be the youngest ever player to feature in a non-wartime match, beating Charlie ‘Tug’ Wilson’s record of 16 years 73 days, set in a First Division game against Oldham in 1921.
Brown would also beat the Premier League record of 16 years and 65 days, currently held by Fulham’s Matthew Briggs from a game in 2007.