Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta has claimed that he followed his gut when deciding to give Ethan Nwaneri his debut on Sunday, in a move that made Premier League history.
The midfielder came off the bench in the 91st minute, alongside fellow teenager Marquinhos, with the former breaking the record for youngest player in the history of the Premier League, aged just 15 years and 181 days.
There was little time to make a huge impression, but it was a huge statement of intent shown by the Spanish manager to give him his chance, and the boss insists that he simply followed his gut in giving his future star his first senior outing.
“It was a pure gut feeling, I met the kid and I liked what I saw,” Arteta is quoted in the Independent as stating. “He has trained a couple of times with us and I had a feeling yesterday that if the opportunity came I would do it.
“But I think it sends a strong message about who we are as a club. I told him yesterday he would be with us and he had to be ready. He is ready. When he went on I said ‘congratulations and enjoy it. I don’t know what it is. When I met him, when I looked at him, I had that feeling.”
It will be interesting to see if he will be granted further minutes after breaking him in on Sunday, especially given that he predominantly plays in the number 10 role where we have Martin Odegaard, Emile Smith Rowe and Fabio Vieira vying for minutes, and the League Cup could well be his best chance of further action.
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