Arsenal: Ethan Nwaneri, 15, becomes the youngest player in the Premier League


Nwane has been assigned the number 83 shirt at Arsenal

Fifteen-year-old Ethan Nwaneri became the youngest player in Premier League history as Arsenal beat Brentford 3-0.

The English attacking midfielder, who was born in March 2007, replaced Fabio Vieira for the Gunners during the stoppage time at the Brentford Community Stadium.

At 15 years and 181 days, Nwaneri surpassed Harvey Elliott’s record.

Elliott was a Liverpool midfielder 16 years and 30 days old when he played for Fulham in 2019.

Nwaneri scored the third goal after replacing Vieira after 91 minutes and two seconds. There was three minutes and 42 seconds before the end of the game, after 94 minutes and 44 seconds.

He is the first under-16 player to play in the Premier League.

“We have opportunities to bring in young players,” Arsenal coach Mikel Arteta said before the game.

“We are quite short and when problems arise, opportunities come.”

Nwaneri has made several appearances for Arsenal’s under-18s and played for England’s under-16s at the age of 14.

Arsenal’s win over Brentford took them top of the table after wins over Manchester City and Tottenham on Saturday.

Last week Christopher Atherton became a schoolboy from Northern Ireland the youngest senior soccer player In the UK he was 13 years and 329 days old when he played for Glenavon.

Who is Nwaneri?

Nwaneri was born on 21 March 2007 at the Emirates Stadium, after leaving Highbury, Arsenal’s home in 2006.

He has quickly impressed during his time with the Gunners.

At the age of 14, he made his under-18 debut with a goal against Reading and followed it up with a number of impressive performances.

He was expected to spend the season with the under-18s but was quickly promoted to the under-21s.

On 8 August, he came on as a substitute for England in a 3–0 win against the Faroe Islands in an under-17 match.

Injuries to captain Martin Odegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko left Arteta out of midfield options against Brentford.

“It was a no-brainer,” added the Arsenal boss when asked about the moment he decided to send Nwane on.

“I met the boy and I really liked what I saw. Per Mertesacker and the academy staff are giving me very good information, Edu too. I met him, he has trained with us a couple of times.

“He had to come yesterday because we have injuries, especially Martin Odegaard’s injury, and then I had this feeling since yesterday that if the opportunity came I would do it and I just did it.”

Arsenal fans will be hoping that he can continue his development and follow the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka to become the club’s young stars.

The date the team the player the opponent the age
September 18, 2022 Arsenal to Ethan Nwane Brentford 15 years 181 days
May 4, 2019 Fulham Harvey Elliott the wolves 16 years 30 days
May 13, 2007 Fulham Matthew Briggs Middlesbrough 16 years 68 days
May 4, 2013 West Brom Isaiah Brown Wigan Athletic 16 years 117 days
May 23, 2003 Leeds United Aaron Lennon Tottenham 16 years 129 days

“What a pat on the back” – they said

Former West Ham and Aston Villa midfielder Nigel Reo-Coker, speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s great to see, but at 15 there’s a lot of pressure to come up with that and after. We don’t want outside influences to spoil the kid’s talent now.”

Former Manchester City defender Nedum Onuoha speaking to BBC Radio 5 Live: “It’s crazy, what a pat on the back for him. What a moment to do it at his age and know you’ve got schoolwork by Tuesday. Kudos to him and Arsenal for nurturing him.”

BBC Radio 5 live commentator Ian Dennis: “Becoming the youngest player in the Premier League, he will have to nurture and be humble. It’s about how he is treated, not only by those around him, but also by the media. We can’t put too much pressure on the boy.”

A record breaker

Freddy Adu was 14 years and 306 days old when he made his Major League Soccer debut for DC United in 2004.

Among the records of the youngest players in Europe…

  • Luka Romero (15 years and 219 days) for Mallorca against Real Madrid in La Liga 2020.
  • Kalman Gerencseri (15 years and 225 days) for Lens against Monaco in 1960.
  • Wisdom Amey (15 years and 274 days) for Bologna against Genoa in Serie A 2021.
  • Youssoufa Moukoko (16 years and 1 day) for Borussia Dortmund against Hertha Berlin in 2020.

“School in the morning” – how society reacted

Dubois on Twitter: Nwaneri was 12 years old when COVID started and is now playing PL football.

Marcus: Nwaneri was born the same month Theo Walcott made his Champions League debut for Arsenal.

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