Wright proud of record-breaking Nwaneri

Fans praise Nwaneri, EPL’s youngest-ever player


Peter Akinbo

Ian Wright is proud of 15-year-old Nigerian midfielder Ethan Nwaneri, who made his Arsenal debut against Brentford on Sunday.

Arsenal claimed their sixth win of the season with an impressive 3-0 victory over Brentford, with William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira on the score sheet.

Nwaneri became the youngest debutant in Premier League history at 15 years and 181 days. He is the first 15-year-old to play in the Premier League.

Liverpool star Harvey Elliott was previously the youngest at 16 years and 30 days, when he was at Fulham.

In the process, Nwaneri also broke Cesc Fabregas’ record as the youngest Arsenal debutant ever.

Fabregas held the all-time Arsenal record at 16 years and 177 days, when he played in a League Cup match against Rotherham in 2003.

“I’m so proud of that for Arsenal,” Wright said. “To get in the team at that stage, some people might think it’s a stunt, but those people – Mikel (Arteta), Per (Mertesacker), Edu – are not putting him in there for a joke.

“They’re not going to bring people in just for the sake of it. They think very highly of him, he was playing for the U18s when he was 14.

“What I think this does is sent a massive message to the other academy players and shows them they all have a chance of playing in that first team.”

On Nwaneri’s debut, Arteta said after the game, “It was a feeling that I had yesterday (Sunday), 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 was telling me about him, and because of the injuries, we only have 12 or 13 senior players yesterday to put in the squad and we decided to bring him, and that’s it.

“It’s one step, one experience, so enjoy it and congratulations! It’s just one step and all the steps in your career are not forward and you have to know that.

“You can go forward then backwards and then forwards. You fall, you go back – that’s, unfortunately, this industry and the football career of any player.”

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.”

The teenager was brought on by 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 goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale urged him to applaud the travelling supporters.