Granit Xhaka predicts ‘very special’ Ethan Nwaneri will have a ‘bright future’ but insists Mikel Arteta must ‘protect’ the Arsenal youngster after he became the youngest-ever Premier League player at 15 years and 181 days
- Granit Xhaka heaped praise on Ethan Nwaneri after he made history on Sunday
- Nwaneri, 15 years and 181 days old, came off the bench for Arsenal vs Brentford
- Nwaneri became the youngster player in history to feature in the Premier League
- Xhaka says Nwaneri is ‘very special’ and insists the starlet has a ‘bright future’
- He also says that Arsenal must ‘protect’ their prodigy to maximise his potential
Granit Xhaka has showered Ethan Nwaneri in praise after the Arsenal starlet became the youngster player in history to feature in the Premier League.
The 15-year-old came off the bench to replace Bukayo Saka during Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Brentford at the Community Stadium on Sunday.
Xhaka says Nwaneri is ‘very special’ and insists the youngster has a ‘bright future ahead of him’ but claims Arsenal must ‘protect’ their prodigy.
Granit Xhaka heaped praise on Ethan Nwaneri (above) after he made history on Sunday
The teenager came off the bench in stoppage time for the Gunners to replace Bukayo Saka
Speaking after Arsenal’s game on Sunday, Xhaka said: ‘We have to check the passport first! I am joking. To have a guy who is 15 and is nearly 15 years younger than me.
‘He looks old when I see him, but the club can be proud of a player like him. He has a big future. I am doing my coaching licence and I have trained the under-16s.
The 15 year old starlet became the youngest-ever Premier League player when he came on
The teenager was promoted to first-team training this week after his impressive performances
‘You can see a big difference with him and the other guys. He is very, very special. You have to protect him as he is very young but if he keeps going like this with his hard work he has a big, big future.
‘It’s not only me that feels old. I spoke with one Brenford guy and I told him this guy was 15 and he looked at me and said: ‘f*** me, we are looking old!’
‘When you have 15 years difference you think ‘OK, the time is not gone but it is on the way’. But we are enjoying him, he is enjoying us as he has the quality.’
Xhaka says Nwaneri is ‘very special’ and insists the youngster has a ‘bright future ahead of him’
However, Xhaka has called on manager Mikel Arteta and the club to ‘protect’ there prodigy
Nwaneri had been expected to spend the season with Arsenal Under 18s but he was quickly promoted to the Under 21s following his impressive performances.
He has already picked up four goals and four assists for both the Under 18s and 21s so far this season – catching the eye of Mikel Arteta.
As a result, Nwaneri was promoted to first team training this week and named in Arsenal’s Premier League squad on Sunday.
Nwaneri was not expected to feature off the bench, but the decision to include the youngster shows great recognition of his progress in the last 12 months.
Liverpool star Harvey Elliott was the youngest at the age of 16 years when he was at Fulham
Given the fact Arsenal were winning the game comfortably at 3-0, Arteta decided to to hand the youngster his first Premier League debut.
As a result, Nwaneri now holds the record of the youngest player to play in the history of the Premier League.
Liverpool star Harvey Elliott was the youngest at the age of 16 years and 30 days when he was at Fulham.
Meanwhile Cesc Fabregas has held the all-time Arsenal record at the age of 16 years and 177 days when he played in a League Cup match against Rotherham in 2003.
YOUNGEST PREMIER LEAGUE PLAYERS
Age: 15 years & 181 days
Fixture: Brentford vs Arsenal
Date: September 18, 2022
Age:16 years & 30 days
Fixture: Wolves vs Fulham
Date: May 4, 2019
Age: 16 years & 68 days
Fixture: Middlesbrough vs Fulham
Date: May 13, 2007
Age: 16 years & 117 days
Fixture: West Brom vs Wigan
Date: May 4, 2013
Age: 16 years & 129 days
Fixture: Tottenham vs Leeds United
Date: August 23, 2003