Arsenal manager, Mikel Arteta handed a debut to 15-year-old player of Nigerian descent on Sunday, making the youngster the youngest ever player to feature in the Premier League
The Spanish coach said he saw the teenage star train with the first team and got good reviews from the academy coaches and Director of Football, Edu.
“It was a pure gut feeling. I met the boy (and) really liked what I saw. Per Mertesacker and the academy staff are giving me really good information, Edu as well,” he said.
“I met him, he’s trained a couple of times with us. Yesterday he had to come because we have injuries, especially the injury of Martin (Odegaard), and then I had that feeling from yesterday that if the opportunity could come that I was going to do it and I just done it.”
The former Arsenal captain said he didn’t tell the player so many things but he just decided to try him on: “Those things it is better not to tell them. Just throw him there and see what happens.”
How well did Nwaneri perform on his debut?
The young midfielder was subbed on by Mikel Arteta for Fabio Vieira in the 92nd minute.
In his one minute of action, he was able to complete one pass but received applause from the fans after the game after Aaron Ramsdale urged him to applaud the travelling supporters.
From a football point of view, it was too little a time on the pitch to assess the record maker.
How does Nigeria benefit?
Nwaneri’s father is Nigerian and that makes him eligible to represent various Nigerian national teams.
He is currently with the England U-16s and recently made his debut with the U-17s. With a Premier League berth under his belt, he’s expected to soon be called up to the England U-21s as he joins a growing list of English-born Nigeria-eligible players.
How did Nigerians and the world react to Nwaneri debut?
Nwaneri’s debut was met with surprise and excitement in Nigeria. He was credited for his achievement and encouraged him to go for more.
Congratulations Nwaneri making his debut at 15 👏
— Ray Parlour (@RealRomfordPele) September 18, 2022
Making a league debut before 18 is a big, big deal. To do it at 15 in the EPL is a momentous achievement. To be deemed to have the ability & ready physically & mentally to play in such a tough league at 15 is staggering. Congratulations to the Ethan Nwaneri & his family.
— Babanla (@biolakazeem) September 19, 2022
BREAKING: Arsenal’s new sub becomes the youngest Premier League player ever.
Ethan Nwaneri is just 15 – half my eldest son’s age! Amazing 👏👏👏👏 pic.twitter.com/utti7JeGxm
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) September 18, 2022
Arsenal keeper Aaron Ramsdale push 15-year-old debutant Ethan Nwaneri towards the travelling supporters
via @laythy29 pic.twitter.com/AdYlpiGvjT
— Doc (@karthikadhaigal) September 18, 2022
"15 years ke. How can?".
Some Nigerians think the world out there is like their country of anything goes. Ethan Nwaneri is 15. Born in a country where age isn't established by affidavit, his birth record cannot be fudged or forged. Modernise Nigeria and see how society works pic.twitter.com/zHXPsrED8Z
— Dr Great Oracle (@AbdulMahmud01) September 19, 2022
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