Arsenal's Ethan Nwaneri Becomes Youngest Ever at 15 Years Old to Play in EPL

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured Columnist IVSeptember 18, 2022

Alex Pantling/Getty Images

Ethan Nwaneri only had a brief cameo in Arsenal's 3-0 victory over Brentford on Sunday, but it was a moment to remember for the teenager.

At 15 years and 181 days, Nwaneri became the youngest player in Premier League history when he subbed in for Fabio Vieira in the second minute of second-half injury time.

NBC Sports Soccer @NBCSportsSoccer

What were you doing at 15 years old? <br><br>Ethan Nwaneri is 15 and playing for the league leading Arsenal. <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MyPLMorning?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MyPLMorning</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/AFC?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#AFC</a> <a href="https://t.co/wHBKanV1Br">pic.twitter.com/wHBKanV1Br</a>

Arsenal @Arsenal

15 years and 181 days. <br><br>The youngest player in Premier League history. <br><br>Congratulations, Ethan Nwaneri 👏<br><br>❤️ <a href="https://twitter.com/ArsenalAcademy?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@ArsenalAcademy</a> <a href="https://t.co/52pnzERNM8">pic.twitter.com/52pnzERNM8</a>

Liverpool's Harvey Elliott (16 years, 30 days) held the previous mark, and Nwaneri broke a club record that was previously held by Cesc Fabregas.

"It was a pure gut feeling," Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said of bringing Nwaneri on. "I met the boy, I really liked what I saw. He trained with us a couple of times. I had that feeling yesterday that if the opportunity could come, I would do it. He deserves it."

This adds to the youth movement Arteta has helped to fuel since arriving as manager in 2019, and the benefits of that focus were on display against Brentford.

Vieira, who only turned 22 in May, scored the Gunners' final goal Sunday.

NBC Sports @NBCSports

Arsenal go up 3-0 thanks to this fantastic goal by Fabio Vieira! <br><br>📺: <a href="https://twitter.com/USA_Network?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@USA_Network</a> <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MyPLMorning?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MyPLMorning</a> | <a href="https://twitter.com/NBCSportsSoccer?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@NBCSportsSoccer</a> <a href="https://t.co/v6w5f1BfWh">pic.twitter.com/v6w5f1BfWh</a>

Bukayo Saka assisted on William Saliba's opener in the 17th minute. He and Saliba are both only 21, with the former already asserting himself as a fulcrum in the club's attack.

OptaJoe @OptaJoe

36 - Bukayo Saka has been directly involved in 36 <a href="https://twitter.com/premierleague?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@premierleague</a> goals for <a href="https://twitter.com/Arsenal?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Arsenal</a> (18 goals, 18 assists), now the second-most of any player while aged 21 or younger for the club in the competition, overtaking Nicolas Anelka (35) and behind only Cesc Fàbregas (63). Prodigious.

Nwaneri hasn't been included on lists of the brightest young talents in world football or considered a can't-miss prospect within Arsenal's youth squads.

But after Sunday, his continued development will be closely followed by supporters.


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