Ethan Nwaneri is a 15-year-old student and has held the record since Sunday in what is probably the best football league in the world. Aged just 15 years and 181 days, the attacking youngster made his debut for the Gunners in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Brentford. No player has ever been younger.
When manager Mikel Arteta sent Nwaneri off with a minute remaining in regular time, he must have known his protégé would make Premier League history. After all, the English junior international almost pulverized the existing record.
Liverpool’s Harvey Eliott became the youngest player in the Premier League in 2019 at the age of 16 years and 38 days with Fulham FC. The London native then outpaced Matthew Briggs (16 years 68 days), Izzy BRown (16 years 117 days) and Aaron Lennon (16 years 129 days). Nwaneri undercut this mark by more than half a year.
“It was just a gut feeling,” explained Arteta Nwaneri’s substitution at the post-game press conference. “He also trained with us a couple of times and due to injuries I brought him into the squad yesterday. Then yesterday I felt like I would do it if the opportunity arose and I just did it.”
“A really strong message” from Arsenal FC
For Nwaneri it was a “further step”, but the youngster shouldn’t expect things to progress all the time. “He will also have to take steps back to ultimately move forward,” said the Spaniard. “But I think it sends a really strong message about who we are as a club.”
Incidentally, an extremely early debut is not a guarantee for great sporting success. Brown, who once played very young for West Bromwich, switched to Chelsea shortly afterwards, but was never really able to assert himself. He was most recently under contract with Preston North End in league two and has been without an employer since the summer.
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