Mikel Arteta trusted ‘gut feeling’ to make Ethan Nwaneri youngest player in Premier League history

Ethan Nwaneri made his debut against Brentford

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Mikel Arteta says it was a “gut feeling” which made him give Ethan Nwaneri his Premier League debut, making him the youngest player to compete in the English top flight.

The 15-year-old Nwaneri came off the bench against Brentford in Arsenal’s 3-0 win to take the club back to the top of the league.

The midfielder took the record off of Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott, who made his debut at 16 years and 30 days in 2019.

“It was a pure gut feeling, I met the kid and I liked what I saw,” said Arteta. “He has trained a couple of times with us and I had a feeling yesterday that if the opportunity came I would do it.

“But I think it sends a strong message about who we are as a club. I told him yesterday he would be with us and he had to be ready. He is ready. When he went on I said ‘congratulations and enjoy it. I don’t know what it is. When I met him, when I looked at him, I had that feeling.”

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The young star reportedly drew interest from clubs like Chelsea and Liverpool in this summer’s transfer window.

He came on three minutes before full-time to help secure Arsenal’s sixth league win of the season and Arteta was delighted to lay to rest the ghosts of last season’s opening-day 2-0 defeat to the newly-promoted Bees.

“A lot of people described that day as embarrassing but I looked at it as a character-building day,” he said. “You have to learn from those moments and then days like today happen. We are enjoying our football.”

Arsenal are one point clear of second-place Manchester City in the league table and will next play Tottenham on October 1.

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