On Sunday in the Premier League match against Brentford, Arsenal gave 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri a chance to make his debut off the bench.
- Nwaneri only made his Under-18s debut in May
- The teenager is an attacking midfielder
- 17-year-old Lino Sousa is also on the bench
WHAT HAPPENED? After coming on as a substitute in the final minutes of Arsenal’s 3-0 victory, the young midfielder made history by becoming the youngest player in Premier League history.
THE BIGGER PICTURE: Nwaneri is still considered a young player at Arsenal, but he has made significant strides in the past several months.
At the beginning of the season, he played for the under-18 team, where he showed great promise and even started in a few exhibition games. When the Rebels played Slough Town, his manager singled him out as a future star.
After the game, Neil Baker remarked, “Their number 10 has got wonderful feet, he’s only a real child.” They have a lot of faith in him at Arsenal. He has unfathomable skills.
AND WHAT’S MORE: Nwaneri, who has played for England at the U16 level, has recently broken into the U21s, and his performances have prompted Mikel Arteta to summon him up to first-team training.
WHERE DOES HE PLAY? Known for his speed and skill with the ball at his feet, Nwaneri excels as an attacking midfielder for his team. He’s most comfortable at No. 10 but can fill in anywhere in the attack.
The fact that Arteta named Nwaneri to the bench for a Premier League game despite his lack of experience shows just how limited Arsenal’s squad still is. A couple of injuries and Martin Odegaard’s late withdrawal haven’t helped, but Arteta shouldn’t have to rely on a kid to fill in for him.
It demonstrates that Arsenal has a long way to go before it can seriously challenge the greatest teams in England.
WHAT NEXT FOR NWANERI? Nwaneri, at 15 years, 5 months, and 23 days, is now Arsenal’s youngest player, surpassing Cesc Fabregas, who played for the club when he was 16 years, 5 months, and 24 days old. He also surpassed Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott to become the Premier League’s youngest player (16 years, 30 days).