Updated: Sep 20
Mikel Arteta has hailed Ethan Nwaneri after making the 15-year-old the youngest-ever player to feature in a Premier League game.
Nwaneri was brought on deep into stoppage time in the win over Brentford to make his senior debut for the Gunners on Sunday. With the attacking midfielder being just 15 years and 181 days old, it means he has smashed the record previously held by Harvey Elliott.
Elliott was 16 years and 30 days old when he set the record while at Fulham in 2019. But Nwaneri has now moved to the top of the list after being brought on for Fabio Vieira at the Brentford Community Stadium.
The Arsenal starlet was only born in March 2007 and is still at secondary school, leading Gunners fans to sing "He's going to school in the morning" when he came on. Arteta though has insisted that Nwaneri full deserved his record-breaking cameo.
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"We have the opportunities to bring young players on. We are pretty short and opportunities come when issues arise. It was a pure gut feeling. I met the boy, I really liked what I saw," the Gunners boss said.
"He trained with us a couple of times. I had that feeling yesterday that if the opportunity could come, I would do it. He deserves it. He has been doing great. He is such a big talent we want to keep with us.
"I'm really pleased. It's never easy to come here and win but we dominated the game. I said before the game that the game we had here last season was a bad day. it was a building character day.
"A team has to evolve and take the lesson and move forward. In different moments we always stick together. We had 12 first team players in training yesterday but I don't want to use excuses. But you saw today we had some kids."
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Nwaneri helped to see out a comfortable 3-0 win for the Gunners, at the Bees, which ensured they moved back to the top of the Premier League. William Saliba started off the scoring, heading in Bukayo Saka's corner.
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