Sunday, October 1, 2023

Arteta on Nwaneri’s debut – “It was a pure gut feeling”

Mikel Arteta says his decision to hand Ethan Nwaneri his Arsenal debut was a ‘gut decision’ after the teenager made a good impression during first team training this week.

The midfielder, aged just 15 years and 181 days, was given a run-out in stoppage time of the Gunners’ 3-0 win at Brentford, and in the process became the club’s and the Premier League’s youngest ever player as well as the youngest to feature in any of Europe’s top five leagues.

“It was a pure gut feeling,” reflected Arteta in his post-game press conference.

“I met the boy, I really liked what I saw. Obviously, Per and all the academy staff are giving me really good information about him, Edu as well.

“I met him, he’s trained a couple of times with us, yesterday he had to come because we have all the injuries, especially the injury of Martin [Odegaard].

“Then I had a feeling from yesterday that if the opportunity could come, I was going to do it [give him his debut]. I’ve just done it.

He added: “It’s another step, an experience in your career. Not all the steps are going to be forward. After that, maybe he needs three backwards to go another one forward. But I think he deserves it and, as well, it sends a strong message about who we are as a club.”

On whether he said anything to the youngster prior to the game, Arteta joked: “First thing, it’s better not to tell them, just throw them there and see what happens.

“I told him yesterday that he was going to be with us and that I want him to experience how it is to be in the hotel, to do the preparation of the game, to be around the boys and that he had to be ready.

“If you’re on the bench, you have to be ready. The boy has a look in his eyes and he’s ready.”

Arteta also revealed his only instructions as he sent Nwaneri on for Bukayo Saka were, “Congratulations and enjoy it.”

In breaking so many records, it’s clear that the youngster will now be in the media spotlight and will likely have to deal with the added pressure that comes with that. Arteta was asked if he’ll subsequently have to take a personal interest in him.

“No, all the decisions that we take, that I take, is for the club. It’s not for me or the player, it’s because we believe that he has a talent that has to be developed incredibly in the next two to three years.

“We’ll see how we manage that. The boy will dictate. Normally, it’s not us, normally the players tell you and demand you and it’s how far you can go with that.”

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Amazing to play in the PL that young, even for a minute of two, hope he can stay grounded and realise it is still a big step up needed to do it regularly. Good luck to him!


Staying grounded is the key point here. Remember Pennant, and so many others who came on at a young age and then just went down from there?


Fair enough, but I also remember when Tony Adams became our youngest captain and when Cesc Fabregas became our youngest goal scorer. It didn’t go too badly for them afterwards.


Let’s hope he’s a Cesc and not a Pennant.
Harvey Elliott – previous youngest – seems to have made it, which is encouraging for Ethan.

Eric Blair


Eric Blair

And of course, may the Lord never be forgotten.

Pastor Simon

Congratulations to the Nwaneri’s family home and abroad.

It will remain the highlights of the season especially when we eventually wins d league


I believe the young lad’s name is Ethan, not Nathan. Congratulations to him, let’s hope he goes on to be a legend for The Arsenal.
Also, are you watching Omari Hutchinson?


It is Ethan in the other posts on here after the Bentford match!!

Nainsley Aitland Miles

Good spot.

There is a Nathan in the U21’s – Nathan Butler-Oyedeji – perhaps that’s where the author had Nathan in mind.


How is it that Patino is not ready but Nwaneri is

Cranky Colin

Haha mate….. keep up

Naked Cygan

Patino was given his chance and he did great. He went on a season long loan to Blackpool I believe. Unfortunately he had a serious injury so not sure when he will be back. But he did play for the first team.

Cygans Parting

Charlie Patino played and scored for Blackpool Saturday afternoon.


Exactly the fact he made his prem debut before Patino is very telling.


It might be his only EPL appearance of this season so let the kid grow, as for Patino, he’ll return to us a far more rounded and mature footballer after playing regular men’s football and be a part of next seasons squad.

Naked Cygan

Like James said this will send a strong message to other academy players that they could make to the first team if the give 100% and have the qualities we are looking for. Great move.


Only at the Arsenal does that happen.

We are so good at developing youth

Boy Bastin

Things are certainly very good now, but we shouldn’t forget that only a relatively few years ago we weren’t so good. A number of promising youngsters were “let go” because we had brought in highly paid players on large transfer fees (several of which turned out to be expensive flops unfortunately) so couldn’t make room for them. They were either let go or continually loaned out until they left. The good news is that the current management team haven’t done that and we’re seeing the results.


Saw highlights of him in our u18 win vs Sp^rs. The striker scored a great hattrick but I thought Nwaneri’s overall play, assists and goal was really superb and showed true class. He did look a bit special, hope we can see more of him this season.


The League Cup off of the bench might be a good next step, maybe getting a 20 minute run out if we’re in control vs Brighton, stay humble and work hard like Bakayo and you’ve a great chance of making it.

Alister Cryan

See the BBC article about the game and Toney’s tweet after this fixture last season and tell me whether you think that there was not a very specific reason for starting Nwaneri in this particular fixture. 🙂


I agree. This was all about getting revenge on Brentford for last season. You could see how pissed off Franks was at the final whistle. Tried lip reading what he says to Mikel. I thought he was having a pop at him for bringing on a 15 year old at the end. So comprehensive a victory we could blood a 15yo. Artetas got a nice competitive edge to him.


This was a really good gesture from the club, I would like to see more academy players break into the first team every season like the old days. Its great for supporters to see a young boy go through the academy and make it in the first team. Every season Arsene would produce a player out of nowhere that would grab the attention of the big players of Europe.

Dave Swain

Girl from Ipanema… the answer to sleepless night or annoying earworms….


Dwight Yoakum’s cover of Sloop John B

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