London: Young Aston Villa striker Rushian Hepburn-Murphy joined an elite band of 16-year-olds to play in the Premier League when he came on as a late substitute in the 4-0 win at Sunderland on Saturday.
Hepburn-Murphy, aged 16 years and 176 days, replaced Christian Benteke for the last seven minutes as he became the fourth youngest player in the history of the competition.
Villa`s new coach Tim Sherwood is well known for giving youngsters a chance after bringing on Harry Kane, Ryan Mason and Nabil Bentaleb during his brief stint at Tottenham Hotspur last season.
The youngest player in the Premier League era is Matthew Briggs who played for Fulham against Middlesbrough in 2007, aged 16 years and 65 days.
Only Briggs, West Bromwich Albion`s Isaiah Brown (16 years and 117 days) and Leeds United`s Aaron Lennon (16 years and 129 days) have made their first appearances at a younger age than the Villa teenager.
Despite his tender years Hepburn-Murphy, born locally in Birmingham, is not Villa`s youngest-ever player.
That honour is held by Jimmy Brown who made his debut for the club in a second-tier match in 1969. He was aged 15 years and 349 days at the time and went on to make more than 70 league appearances for Villa.