Patrick Kelechi, Lagos –
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has explained his surprise decision to give 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri his senior debut for the Gunners in Sunday’s Premier League game at Brentford.
Nwaneri was introduced in stoppage time of the Gunners’ 3-0 win at Brentford on Sunday, becoming both the club’s and the Premier League’s youngest-ever player.
And Arteta admits to having a special feeling about Nwaneri after watching him in training hence his decision to give him his senior debut.
“It was a pure gut feeling. I met the boy, I really liked what I saw,” he told reporters
“I had information from Per and Edu, he trained with us a couple of times. He had to come with us because of Martin’s injury and I had that feeling yesterday that if the opportunity could come, I would do it. He deserves it.”
Arsenal returned to the top in the league table courtesy the comfortable win against Brentford.
William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus gave Arsenal a 2-0 first half lead before Fabio Vieira added the third goal in the second 45 minutes.
Nwaneri joined up with Arsenal at nine years-old. By the age of 14 he was already playing for their under-18 side. Predominantly he plays as a midfielder.
Nwaneri started the 2022–23 season playing for Arsenal under-18s but such was his form he was progressed up to the Arsenal under-21s.
He joined the Arsenal first team for training in September and went on to make his senior debut against Brentford.