Who is Ethan Nwaneri? Things to know about Arsenal’s record-breaking teenager

Ethan Nwaneri became the youngest player in Premier League history on Sunday as he took to the field in Arsenal’s 3-0 victory over Brentford.

Aged just 15 years and 181 days, Nwaneri shattered the previous record set by Harvey Elliott before he joined Liverpool from Fulham, cementing a place in the history books and sealing a record which will be incredibly difficult to break.

Here’s all you need to know about the young starlet.

Nwaneri is no stranger to playing above his age group. He made his Under-18 debut as a 14-year-old in May 2021 and stole the show with an unbelievable strike from range.

Such was his quality that Nwaneri was promoted to Arsenal’s Under-21 setup this year. He made his debut five games into the 2022/23 Premier League 2 season, bagging an assist against players six years his senior.

Schoolboys playing for Arsenal’s reserve side are few and far between, with Nwaneri following the likes of Tony Adams and David O’Leary in doing so.

Arsenal have long been aware of his quality and his immediate impact at U21 level saw Nwaneri handed his maiden Premier League outing against Brentford.

Comparisons have been made between Nwaneri and a young Jack Wilshere, whose emergence as an elite playmaker was one of the most exciting developments from the Arsenal academy in recent memory.

While he’s more attack-minded than the Gunners’ current Under-18 boss, Nwaneri’s bread and butter is his creativity, as you can see with his sumptuous assist against Tottenham in the video above.

His quick feet and ability to dictate the tempo of a game made up of players with significantly more experience than him has earned Nwaneri some rave reviews.

Nwaneri is far from perfect but most who have watched him play will admit that the majority of his weaknesses come from his age and inexperience.

Still with the slender frame that comes with youth, Nwaneri can get bullied by physically superior defenders, but he has learned to use his speed and quick footwork to get by.

Due to his age, Nwaneri cannot agree the terms of professional contract until 2023 and could leave Arsenal at any point – similar to Chelsea’s loss of Jamal Musiala to Bayern Munich.

Chelsea are among the sides keen on Nwaneri, having tracked him alongside Manchester United for years, while Liverpool and Manchester City have both taken a keen interest in his development.

It’s for this reason that Mikel Arteta’s decision to give Nwaneri a first-team opportunity could be so crucial. The Gunners have a year to do everything they can to convince the teenager to stay.

Eligible for Nigeria through his parents, Nwaneri has so far spent his time representing England at youth level.

He made his debut for the Under-16s in February 2022 and then the Under-17s in August, and is held in very high regard by those involved with the Three Lions.

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