‘He is ready’ – Arteta claims schoolboy’s debut chance down to ‘gut feeling’

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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Tags Ethan Nwaneri Mikel Arteta


  1. its a gamble Arteta can’t loose, neither with the fans or
    the team /club .. lets use him in2-3 cub games the don’t
    matter in the PL battle.There is no way a 15 yo is ready
    for games against Newcastle/ Liverpool etc..

    1. “There is no way a 15 yo is ready
      for games against Newcastle/ Liverpool etc..”

      And that’s based on your experience coaching Real Madrid for a decade right?

  2. Arteta had the confidence that we will be winning and there will be a chance to bring him on…..
    I like Arteta’s confidence

  3. Don’t want to take anything away from the young lad but what stops other teams from bringing on a 14 year old at the 90th minute when they are 3 goals up. This move look totally PR to me. At what age would the other team see it as disrespect?

    1. @Meedo
      I had the very same thoughts about the decision to play the young gun for what was essentially 90 seconds…IJS

    2. @Meedo, may be other team mangers never get the gut feeling to do so…..PR or not……. That exposure is commendable and confidence boaster….. I expect to see in in cup games soon

      1. Seeing him in cup games getting more minutes or even a start will make that cameo appearance more commendable. I just don’t want us to be seen as making a mockery of the opposition or the league.

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