Paul Merson the player was just 18 when he made his Arsenal debut as a late substitute for Niall Quinn in November 1986.
And he was only just 19 when he scored on his first full appearance at Wimbledon later that same season.
So it's no surprise that Merson the manager is such a great believer in giving youngsters a chance.
With six teenagers in Walsall's starting line-up for Saturday's 1-1 draw with Milton Keynes Dons, the average age of 'Merse's mites' was just under 22.
Having to contend with a long injury list that still includes himself partially explains why the Saddlers player-manager chose to play one of the youngest teams in the club's history.
It is an average age that could lower still further at second-placed Huddersfield on Saturday if Merson opts to stick with all six teenagers (and, on Saturday's evidence, there's no reason to suggest that he shouldn't) when the old man of the team Osborn is suspended after running up five bookings, and a change has to be made.
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"You take Ossie at 33, and the next eldest is Chris Westwood at 28," said Merson. "And I know what people are saying about it being a young team and that you don't win nothing with kids. But I've not got 12 internationals locked in a cupboard somewhere. That's what we're down to. They tried their hardest again on Saturday and I thought we deserved at least a draw."
Although two of his youngsters, keeper John Ruddy (18) and left-side midfielder Simon Gillett (19) are on loan from Everton and Southampton respectively, the other four are Walsall's own.
Left-back Danny Fox (19) was also schooled at Everton, but three others have come through the Walsall ranks.
Matty Fryatt has already been the subject of one decent bid from Nottingham Forest after hitting 15 goals in his first full season.
Although he has not top form yet this time round, four of his six goals having come from the penalty spot, it says much that a 19-year-old should have the nerve to shoulder such a big responsibility.
Julian Bennett, it seems hard to remember, is also still only 19 - but his late equaliser against MK Dons shows how well he has bounced back from injury.
And the youngest of the lot, 17-year Ishmel Demontagnac, already proving a name to remember after scoring on his debut at Port Vale last week, then looking Walsall's most creative outlet on Saturday.
"He ripped his boots last week, so we had to buy him a new pair. "And," revealed Merson, with an amused shake of the head, "he went out and bought a pair of silver ones with the smallest studs I've ever seen.
"But I thought he did very well again. He's a only young kid, but he plays with no fear and that's what you need."
While Merson's belief in his players is firm, and that Walsall can only benefit in the long-term from them being blooded now, he is also aware that playing too many youngsters does not always work.
It is why, in Merson's own absence, he knows he needs a vastly experienced fellow professional like his player-coach Osborn out on the pitch to help bring out the best.