Thursday 26 December 2013
James Milner became the Barclays Premier League’s youngest scorer as Leeds United won at Sunderland to move away from the relegation zone.
Milner, aged 16 years, 355 days, took the mantle away from Wayne Rooney, who was five days older when he scored a stunning winner for Everton against Arsenal two months previously.
The teenager had come on as a 36th-minute substitute for the injured Alan Smith, two minutes after Sunderland had taken the lead.
Michael Proctor had scored that goal for the hosts with a powerful header that flew in off the underside of the bar, which had earlier been struck by a Kevin Phillips header in the 15th minute.
But six minutes after the break Milner, making his fifth senior appearance for Leeds as a substitute, slid in to convert a cross from Jason Wilcox and bring the visitors level.
Leeds won it in the 80th minute with a penalty from Robbie Fowler after Proctor had brought down Harry Kewell. The victory meant Leeds had picked up seven points from three matches lifting them to 14th in the table – six points clear of the bottom three, which was occupied by Sunderland as a result of this defeat.
“Our first-team players have a terrific respect for James," Leeds manager Terry Venables said. "That will have given him the confidence to know he can get goals against quality opposition. He proved by getting in there that anything can happen.”
Sunderland’s manager, who was formerly in charge of Leeds, Howard Wilkinson said: “That was probably our best all-round attacking performance since I arrived. We created chances, looked threatening and looked like we wanted to play. Everything apart from the result was fine.”
The season ended in relegation for Sunderland as their four-year stay in the Barclays Premier League finished with them at the bottom of the table. Leeds came 15th, with a five-point cushion.
Milner, who is now at Manchester City, held his record for just over two years until Everton’s James Vaughan scored against Crystal Palace in April 2005 at 16 years, 270 days.