Historic debut for 15-year-old bull Ethan Nwaneri

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“11 men against 11 children”, a phrase used by Patrice Evra to taunt Arsenal when he played for Manchester United, has taken on a completely different meaning for the Gunners at the start of the season. A far cry from the disappointing teams of recent seasons where talent, inexperience and a failed mentality have been exposed, Arsenal are Premier League leaders after eight days. A journey for Mikel Arteta and his men, revolving around a fiery youth personified by Martin Ødegaard (23 years old), Gabriel Martinelli (21 years old), Bukayo Saka (21 years old) or William Saliba (21 years old). Empowered and ambitious, the Baby Gunners are grown-ups whose face is confident of their qualities on the field. It is therefore in this context conducive to the development of young talent that youngster Ethan Nwaneri made a public appearance this Sunday, September 18, during the 3-0 win over Brentford.

With the final seconds of the match being debated and the match script being closed, Mikel Arteta decided to drop Fabio Vieira after a convincing performance in favor of youngster Ethan Nwaneri. Nicknamed “N”, born on 21 March 2007, the young attacking midfielder immediately caught the attention of his coach Mikel Arteta after the advice of Per Mertesacker (academy director), although he only plays with the Gunners U18 team (3 matches, 1 goal and 2 offers ). “It was pure intuition, I met the kid and I liked what I saw”, while justifying his choice, he also explained to the Spanish coach. It should be noted that the English club had to face a wave of absences with Martin Odegaard, Oleksandr Zinchenko, Emil Smith-Row and Mohamed Elneny on the wing. But Mikel Arteta was confident of the contribution Ethan Nwaneri could bring.

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in Premier League history

“He has trained with us a few times and yesterday I had a feeling that if the opportunity arose, I would do it. But I think it sends a strong message about who we are as a club. I told him yesterday that he would be with us and that he should be ready. He is ready. When I started I said ‘congratulations and enjoy'” Pep Guardiola’s former assistant revealed this after the meeting with Brentford. Moreover, for the future, Ethan has a lot of faith in Nwaneri: “We want to allow when there’s talent and personality and when players love what they do and aren’t afraid, the doors are open to explore where they can go. All the decisions we make are for the club. It’s not for me, it’s not for the player. Because we think he’s got an incredible talent that needs to be developed over the next few years and we’ll see how we deal with that.”

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If his introduction was anecdotal to the outcome of the match and cannot be judged in a matter of minutes, Ethan Nwaneri has nevertheless made his mark on Premier League history. The first player born in 2007 to play in one of the big five championships, he obliterated Harvey Elliott’s precocity record of 16 years and 30 days with Fulham (then on loan from Liverpool). This time, Ethan Nwaneri, who was 15 years, 5 months and 28 days, broke the records of early age. The Nigerian-born England U17 international also obliterated Cesc Fabregas’ 2003 record, making him the youngest player to pull on the Gunners’ shirt at 16-and-a-half years old. Three minutes of history for Ethan Nwaneri, who had the opportunity to touch his first and only ball in the Premier League so far, but had to reveal others.

Having made an offer against Blackburn with the U21s the previous day of the Championship (4-1 win), this time he got his chance with the first team. Mikel Arteta, who has been spot-on for goals, has a talent that has been heralded for some time, along with Ethan Nwaneri. Ethan Nwaneri, who started in the U18s aged just 14, impressed the Slough Town coach during a full pre-season game with the U18s on July 29. “This number 10 has extraordinary feet and incredible talent. This is a great hope.” Neil Baker talked about him. There are young talents at Arsenal with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe regularly promoting their academy, as well as loanees Charlie Patino (Blackpool) and Folarin Balogun (Stade de Reims). Ethan Nwaneri introduces himself in their ranks.

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