Mikel Arteta told Arsenal have two key players to help develop wonderkid Ethan Nwaneri – Football.London

Arsenal’s victory at Brentford on Sunday was straightforward and routine, which allowed the Gunners to make a piece of history as the final minutes ticked away. 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri was handed his first-team debut off the bench, making him the youngest player to ever feature in the Premier League.

A catalogue of injuries saw Nwaneri make the bench, and with the game firmly in Arsenal’s control in the latter stages, he became the first player under the age of 16 to play in the Premier League. Perhaps surprisingly, Mikel Arteta has been criticised for his decision to bring on the teenager, with Danny Murphy and Jason Cundy leading the argument that it was the wrong thing to do.

“He is obviously a super-talent,” former Liverpool midfielder Murphy told talkSPORT. “[He’s] doing well in training and impressing everybody, but surely they have got other 18, 19 and 20-year-olds who are further ahead in their development who could have gone on the bench. I think he is probably trying to keep a young superstar happy.”

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There is no doubt that Nwaneri still has plenty to learn as he looks to establish himself as a member of Arteta’s first-team squad over the next few seasons. Former Arsenal midfielder Paul Davis believes Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe have a key role to play in ensuring Nwaneri keeps his feet on the ground, having recently made the jump from the academy to the first-team themselves.

“Full credit to the club, the fans that have supported him and obviously his family,” Davis told Sky Sports News.

“He’s got to keep good people around him. If the club have put him in at this stage then they feel he is mentally very strong.

“That’s the thing for any sportsperson, particularly footballers. The mind has to be strong and you need to have good people around you. Hopefully he’ll have that.

“He’s got some good young players in Saka and Smith Rowe who have already done it – I’m sure they’ll look after him. There are some good senior players there as well.”

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