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Page last updated at 06:59 GMT, Wednesday, 1 October 2008 07:59 UK

Barnsley schoolboy makes history

Reuben Noble-Lazarus
Noble-Lazarus was due at school less than 12 hours after his debut

Barnsley have pledged to nurture Reuben Noble-Lazarus after the striker, aged 15 years and 45 days, became the Football League's youngest player.

Boss Simon Davey said the youngster, who was due back at school on Wednesday, was too young to be paid.

Noble-Lazarus came off the bench during his side's 3-0 defeat at Ipswich to beat the record by 113 days.

He passed a mark set by Bradford Park Avenue's Albert Geldard in 1929 and equalled by Wrexham's Ken Roberts.

Roberts was aged 15 years and 158 days when he made his debut in 1951.

Davey joked that Noble-Lazarus would receive a ham sandwich and a piece of pizza for his efforts.

He said the player would receive money as an apprentice once he has finished his GCSE exams next years.

"He has only trained a couple of times with the first team but they have taken him under their wing," the manager continued.

The club has liaised with his school so he can join first-team training on Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Wearing a number 31 shirt, the teenager came on as a substitute in the 84th minute at Portman Road.

Davey insisted Noble-Lazarus, who goes to school in Huddersfield, would be kept grounded.

"I think if they're good enough, they're old enough," said Davey.

"I have kept an eye on him over the last two years and have tried to integrate him as quickly as I could into the first team.

Reuben Noble-Lazarus 2008 (Barnsley) 15y 45d
Ken Roberts 1951 (Wrexham) 15y 158d
Albert Geldard 1929 (Bristol Rovers) 15y 158d
Ronnie Dix 1928 (Bristol Rovers) 15y 173d
"He is a confident lad but he is still only 15. He is a talent and we need to nurture him in the right way."

The youngster is such a newcomer that his player profile on Barnsley FC's official website contains little detail and no photograph.

He can play as an outright striker or on the left, and is renowned for his speed.

"I was academy manager two years ago and I gave him a start in the under-18s," said Davey.

"He did well when he came on. He didn't give the ball away.

"He scored a hat-trick for the youth team against Sheffield United on Saturday.

"We need to look after him. He has got to be dipped in and perhaps dipped back out.

BBC Sport's Frank Keogh
"We've arranged with his school that we can get him out for two days a week so he can train with us."

In the last 20 years, Millwall's Moses Ashikodi was the youngest player to make his Football League debut. He played in 2003, aged 15 years and 240 days.

Matthew Etherington, now with Premier League side West Ham, was 15 years and 262 days when he appeared for Peterborough in 1997.

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see also
Davey refuses to criticise Muller
01 Oct 08 |  Barnsley
Ipswich 3-0 Barnsley
30 Sep 08 |  Championship

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