Arsenal: Mikel Arteta makes Ethan Nwaneri admission after midfielder's historic debut

Ethan Nwaneri of Arsenal applauds the fans following the Premier League match between Brentford and Arsenal at the Gtech Community Stadium on September 18, 2022 in Brentford, England.
Ethan Nwaneri after making his Premier League debut for Arsenal in Sunday's 3-0 win at Brentford (Image credit: Alex Pantling/Getty Images)

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta admits that he had "a feeling" about Ethan Nwaneri the day before handing the 15-year-old midfielder his senior debut.

Nwaneri replaced Fabio Vieira in stoppage time as the Gunners won 3-0 at Brentford on Sunday, becoming the youngest player in Premier League history aged just 15 years and 181 days.

The England youth international also became Arsenal's youngest-ever player in any competition, breaking the record held by Cesc Fabregas for almost 19 years.

See more

A new name to many, Nwaneri was already familiar to Mikel Arteta – who explained his decision to include the schoolboy in his squad for the trip to West London.

Speaking to the Gunners' official website, Arteta said:

"It was a feeling that I had yesterday; I don't know why.

"The first day I met him, I looked him in his eyes and everyone was telling me about him. Per [Mertesacker, manager of Arsenal's academy] was telling me about him and because of the injuries, we only [had] 12 or 13 senior players yesterday to put in the squad and we decided to bring him in, and that's it.

"It's one step, one experience, so enjoy it and congratulations!"

After getting his first taste of Premier League action, Nwaneri will no doubt be itching to be involved for Arsenal's first game after the international break: the smaller matter of a North London derby clash with Tottenham at the Emirates Stadium.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1