Ethan Nwaneri, 15, Becomes Youngest Premier League Player

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Ethan Nwaneri, 15, Becomes Youngest Premier League Player

Fifteen-year-old Ethan Nwaneri became the youngest player in Premier League history in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Brentford.

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

Aged 15 years and 181 days, Nwaneri beat the record held by Harvey Elliott.

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

Nwaneri replaced Vieira, who had scored the third goal, after 91 minutes and two seconds. He was involved for three minutes and 42 seconds before the game ended after 94 minutes and 44 seconds.

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

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

“We are pretty short and opportunities come when issues arise.”

Nwaneri has made several appearances for Arsenal Under-18s and played for England Under-16s when he was 14.

Arsenal’s win over Brentford took them back to the top of the table following victories for Manchester City and Tottenham on Saturday.

Last week Northern Irish schoolboy Christopher Atherton became the youngest senior footballer in the United Kingdom aged 13 years and 329 days when he played for Glenavon.

Who is Nwaneri?

Nwaneri was born on 21 March 2007 after Emirates Stadium, the home Arsenal moved into after leaving Highbury, was opened in 2006.

He has quickly impressed during his time with the Gunners.

Aged 14, he marked his under-18s debut with a goal against Reading and followed it up with a number of eye-catching performances.

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

On 8 August, he scored in a 3-0 win after coming on as a substitute for England in an Under-17s game against the Faroe Islands.

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

“It was a pure gut feeling,” added the Arsenal boss when asked about the moment he decided to send Nwaneri on.

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

“Yesterday he had to come because we have injuries, especially the injury of Martin Odegaard, and then I had that feeling from yesterday that if the opportunity could come that I was going to do it and I just did it.”

Arsenal fans will now be hoping he can continue his development and follow the likes of Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka to become a young star at the club.

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