Has Arteta put too much pressure on such a young Arsenal starlet?

When Ethan Nwaneri came on for the final three minutes at Brentford, I assumed it was our manager, knowing we were 3-0 up, breaking a record for records sake, by fielding the youngest ever player in the history of the Prem.

Unlike other Gooners I’m not going to pretend to have heard of the kid before Sunday, so let’s not pretend if we were chasing a goal at the weekend that he’s getting anywhere near the pitch.

Arteta knew it was game over, was aware of the stat and felt it was harmless enough to make the sub.

If the record was already 15, he wouldn’t have seen the point making the change.

I thought nothing of it till I came across a debate from Talk Sport’s YouTube Channel.

Not a station I give too much credence to, but I have always respected Danny Murphy’s style as an analyst.

The ex-midfielder wasn’t being critical of Arsenal but was more taking the point of view of being a young player once.

Murphy’s position was the welfare of a 15 year old who, based on a few seconds, will suddenly have a massive spotlight on him.

Murphy predicted correctly that social media followers would now jump by thousands.

Leaks coming out of the club say that Edu thinks we have a star in our set up and is ordering he is made to feel wanted.

In reality we said the same about Nketiah and Balogun and neither are yet to score consistently in the top division.

It’s a lot for someone still at school to handle ,because boy can our fanbase get carried away with one of their own.

Look at Willock and Maitland Niles, average at best but supporters made them out to be superstars based on being from the academy.

Part of his development is having a decent support network around him, and the Gunners are renowned for how they take care of their academy graduates.

Yet were a few pointless mins worth the added pressure you put on someone still months away from his 16th birthday.

All clubs tell you they have talent in their youth set up, you would be a lousy coach if you didn’t.

Yet let’s not pretend this is a Fabregas or Jack Wilshire, talents Mr Wenger knew could train with grown men the moment he first saw them.

Nwaneri won’t be starting in the Europa League (unless we qualified) or in any domestic cups.

That some of my peers think that’s a possibility shows you the negative aspect of his 15 mins of fame.

Let me stress, lots of kids dream of football being their paid job.

To do that at any level is not a high percentage.

So to make it to the point where you have played in the Prem is an achievement no one can take away from him.

He and his family will rightly be proud.

It’s not how or why you get the opportunity but what you do when that happens.

There may be other fixtures where a cameo role presents itself.

If Arteta truly sees a pathway for the midfielder in the next couple of seasons, then that’s great.

If the sub was a token gesture though just to break a record, then in the long term it might do more harm than good.

The player needs to focus on his education (his headteacher has already got himself an interview) and play with as little pressure as possible.

It’s an interesting debate Talk Sport created for once.

Bringing on Nwaneri …. putting him under the microscope

Was the juice worth the squeeze?

I think it’s an interesting debate ….

Be kind in the comments

Dan Smith

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Tags Ethan Nwaneri


  1. On the contrary, I think the spotlight has empowered the kid to negotiate a better deal in the future. If Arsenal’s offer isn’t good enough, I’m afraid he’d follow Hutchinson’s footsteps to other big club

    We’ve got many left-footed central midfielders like him, such as Xhaka, Odegaard, Vieira, Patino and Cottrell. Most of them are still young, so Nwaneri would likely have a hard time to start ahead of them in the next four years

  2. I have tried to avoid commenting on this topic in all articles that have been posted, but there’s no harm in giving your opinion especially if the topic keep popping up.
    I read somewhere that other clubs are chasing the lad, which would made the debut some kind of tactical reason and not because he’s good enough to make that debut. This is a lad that is yet to be promoted or even participated in the tour games or made the bench before. Meaning he was never part of the plan to be in the squad or join at a point. The debut came from nowhere.
    There’s a reason none of the best current players didn’t make their debut at that age, and I can surely tell you some of them showed more potential than what we are seeing of this lad.
    If you saw messi at 10, you wouldn’t question him making a debut at 15, but he didn’t. And this doesn’t mean others are not chasing after him at that age. So does other players who have turned out to be world class.
    It’s actually a good experience for the lad no doubt, but the reasons for that debut is blurry.
    All in all the manager felt it was needed,so our opinion would mean nothing.

  3. its alway a case of sink or swim when this occurs, Jack
    was rushed in to early and his body did not cope, Cesc
    was a success as he played with legends of the game who
    protected him and gave him space for expression. We can
    only hope Ethan will be eased in with care. He will get
    some minutes in easy games this season but hopefully
    more next season. He also has some good role-models
    in the current team that will help and protect him ??

  4. Economic reasons are Arsenal now have the youngest player in EPL record books which will make all youngsters wanna play for the Gunners. Arsenal now proven that Nwaneri’s future is better at the club than other EPL clubs. Btw, at 15 years old, he is already 5’9”, same height as Martinelli, Saka, Odegaard and Jesus. Imagine his height as he grows taller with age. With Mertersacker, Arteta and Edu, he has all the guidance and good examples to follow together with senior pros like Xhaka, Elneny and Cedric.

  5. Nonsense, MØ got his international debut at 15, today he’s their captain at 23.
    Soon as it’s Arsenal, everyone wants a lump at it just like Micah Richards said last season.
    Y’all weren’t making ridiculous claims and asking these questions when Arsene Wenger, Liverpool were chasing an unknown 15 years old that Real Madrid eventually paid a big amount for at his age.
    These pundits always disgracing themselves.
    Did you hear what his teacher said about his trial? Have you heard what Rio Ferdinand said about the kid being something no kid has been in the last 10-15 years? Saying he’s something like Foden technically?
    The people at the club responsible for his growth, you think they don’t care about his life? You think he doesn’t have a well grounded family to help keep him focused. Per who advised Arteta to take him I to senior training sessions knows nothing?
    Yeah I’m not gonna pretend we know about this kid before, but doing what? Playing U18 at 14 and U21 at 15 doesn’t say something about his mentality and physicality?
    I only hope Arteta slowly eases him in like Pep did with Foden.
    Knowing Arteta by his handling of Martinelli, ESR, Nketiah, Saliba, that’s exactly what he’ll do with the kid

      1. Yeah, I see it, you ain’t no different from them pundits who say stuff without thinking and say stuff just for attention. You must’ve smoked something if you expected a 15years old wonderkid to have made it into a Madrid midfield of Casemiro, Kroos, Modric, Isco and James Rodriguez.
        Kid got his debut and was also the youngest debutant at that age, I don’t know about now.
        With how many years Modric and Kroos has dominated that midfield, one must’ve thought they’re on the level of Xavi and Iniesta… Oh wait, they’re actually the only two pairing ever compared to Xavi and Iniesta.
        You seem to chat a lot of rubbish for attention and comments Dan.
        Ancelotti wanted to keep him before he came, but he wasn’t interested in waiting another year when Arteta and Edu already sold him their project.
        Flop you said.
        Going by that dumb logic, Hutchinson is an Arsenal flop because despite the hype at the club about him he didn’t get his chance and he decided by himself he’d leave for Chelsea.
        That you definition of flop mate?
        Gabriel Jesus is a Man City flop because he couldn’t nail a starting spot at City and he decided he’d come to Arsenal?
        You see how clownish you all look when you make ridiculous statements?

        1. Try to have a debate without insulting people
          I didnt bring MO up , you did .
          You brought him up as an example of a 15 year old who got allot at 15 and essentially look at him now .
          It’s a terrible example because he literally couldn’t cope with the pressure , hence why he’s yet to fulfill his potential
          I also didnt say this , Talk Sport did so I gave my opinion to this

    I do , however, take issue when he seems to think he knows better than MA when this 15 old lad should be picked for a cameo role.

    I see Dan taking an agenda and then tryingto make his comments about it FIT that agenda. IMO, this is not wise.

    FAIR ENOUGH TO SIMPLY GIVE YOUR OWN OPINION. But when you try to persuade other Gooners that you know more about a lad – a lad btw, Dan admits to having not even heard about til very recently, as I had not either- than our manager , then DAN loses the argument IMO .


    That is fair enough, but to claim we know more about things than our full time professional highly successful manager, is arrogance and conceit supreme, in my view.

    1. Highly successful ? He took us to our worst finish in quarter of a century ……twice
      Brought no European football to us for only time in quarter of a century and is yet to qualify for CL which in own words is his min target

      Given you say Wenger was a failure In his final years……..we can’t yet say our manager is highly successful

  7. It’s not like he enlisted him to go and fight in Iraq.
    This is just sports, kicking a ball around while getting paid insanely.

    There are more pressing issues regarding 15 year old boys and girls around the world, poverty, can afford good food, education, healthcare etc..

    Let’s stop this kind of mentality when it comes to sports people that get paid insane amounts for engaging in their own personal hobbies..

    The kids was not sent out to the mountains to break rocks as their form of job to earn them £1 a day..

    Let’s snap out of this distorted reality we have been brainwashed into. In the real world it’s sobering.

    1. Goonster, I agree with this to the point opinion. Kids today are treated as though they are snowflakes and pampered to a ludicrous degree. A bit of toughening up while still at a tender age stands them in good stead for life and does no harm at all That is my view!

    2. Good points Goonster
      This author is always quick to latch on to some issue of limited importance and turn into something for people to get heated up about. The same can be said about some of the pundits. Very silly all round.
      Without looking it up how many people know who are the youngest ever players in La Liga or the Bundesliga.
      There is a peculiar preoccupation with some things in the UK; the age of people in sports being one of them. So the media and pundits often bring this up when they have nothing more interesting to discuss or ask.
      How well his career will turn out should have little to do with what age he had a first cameo appearance. Some hacks are however seeking to create an unnecessary narrative out of this. As usual, so are a number of fans. It’s probably not too surprising to see the usual ringleaders.

  8. We will only see what damage or good as been done in a few years time. The thing is now, he has to be involved in EL and cup games from now. If he isnt, then the appearance was baffling and if he is, it will be interesting to see how it goes because the pressure will be on to perform. He has been singled out from many young players (many older and further down the footballing road) so he has to show the rest, the decision was for the right reasons.

  9. The gaffer is smart and hungry,

    One important person who would have take note and very impressed, is the Kroenke the gaffer employer and owner.

    The Kroenke is very big on youth development in their programs hence why he was employed at that tender age.
    The gaffer is ticking all of the boxes at present, he is looking more impressive in the owners eye by doing so with no prodding.

    It is for those reasons if the gaffer decides to ask for a £100 mil to acquire Vlohovic or Aurelien Tchouameni in January the bank will be broken

  10. The boy is a football player.

    He belongs with the club.

    The manager saw something in him and decided to expose him.

    He’s not too young to traing with the senior team, he’s not too young to make the bench, but he’s to young to run around with the senior team for few minutes on a match day.

    Are you doubtful of his ability because you haven’t heard of him before or because he’s too young?

    Are you surprised that a young arsenal player broke a record?

    Well just so you know a lot has changed at the club and still changing.

    The cub is doing everything possible to create a new spirit at the club.

    Player of the year
    Manger of the month
    Youngest player ever
    Top of the league

    I understand if people outside the club can’t deal with that but not from the so called arsenal fan.

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