‘I’ve heard’ – Ferdinand insists excitement around youngster is warranted

Rio Ferdinand told his followers that he has been hearing big things about Arsenal’s latest academy graduate Ethan Nwaneri.

The midfielder was given his senior debut on Sunday, coming off the bench to become the all-time youngest player of England’s top flight, causing much excitement around the young star.

Ferdinand insists there is every reason to be excited also, likening his ability to Manchester City and England star Phil Foden.

“There’s no doubting this kid’s ability,” Rio told his YouTube followers. “I’ve heard from coaches that are at the club and from various different people in the game at that level that there aren’t many 15-year-olds in the last 10 or so years that have got the ability that this guy’s shown on a consistent basis.

“We are talking the Fodens of this world. At 15, he’s at a similar level they’re talking.”

Nwaneri wasn’t given long enough on the pitch to make an impact, but the experience of stepping out on the field should well ease the pressure on him for when he gets his next chance.

The fact that he was selected at all is a huge statement, with the likes of Miguel Azeez and Charlie Patino, who are also highly rated, yet to get their PL debuts.

Could Nwaneri get another chance to shine in the near future?


Tags Ethan Nwaneri Rio Ferdinand


  1. I do wonder about this. It seemed to come out of nowhere and the fact he’s only 15 making his debut, rather than 16, and the fact that it was in the league, has attracted a lot of attention. Even if he can handle that, what’s the benefit of exposing him now, rather than waiting and letting him train with the first team for a while, or giving him his debut in a cup game at least?

    1. The only reason,and i think arteta alluded to it in his interview is that there is alot of interest in thos boy from alot of top clubs,maybe his parent or agent have hinted that he might like to talk to other clubs regarding his first proffesional contract.arteta said that per(mertesacker)and other coaches have told him that they have to look after him brcause he is a super talent,hence the game time.maybe the kid has looked at the first team with odegard and viera and thought’where do i fit in if i want to push on into the first team’.hope he handles it ans shows is all what hes made of

      1. Yeah that makes sense – it’s a bit sad we’d have to go something like that, but i guess it’s to do with contractual status of such young players. We could lose him really easily at this point in time, I believe.

  2. He could get another chance in the EPL and the Europa League as well in the 2 domestic Cup games, to have some few minutes under his belt to shine. So, we’ll see.
    Meanwhile, Happy Birthday To Me And Many Fruitful Happy Returns To Me In Good Health Having And In Having The Lord’s Peace In My Life That Surpasses All Understandings In All Aspects Of My Living In Jesus Christ Name. Amen!

  3. 15 and a half is young but from what I have been reading, it is no surprise that he was given the chance to be around the big boys at a point in the match when the 3 points had been won. To have played in older age groups throughout his time in football at least suggests he does have the mentality to deal with the big stage.

  4. No point comparing him to Patino or Azeez. The five sub rule brought in this season was a big factor in this debut

  5. His school headmaster said that as a 10 year old he had to be taken out of games with older kids because none of them could get the ball off him. I do think that with both Liverpool and Man U being interested in him he was given minutes against Brentford as part of a way of keeping him because he can’t have a contract for another two years and any other club could easily lure him away. In the old days, parents were bought houses and given cash to persuade them but I’m not sure that could happen today.

  6. Pele was only 17 when he played a big part in Brazil winning the World Cup way back in 1958 against Sweden.If you are good enough, you are old enough.Lets hope young Ethan is another Pele in the making.

  7. He will play some matches in all the competitions including EPL is my prediction. Saka did not get the same exposure but he was fast tracked into the first team and he did well. Saka played in U18 tournament in the USA just before he played for Arsenal. Nwaneri is also being fast tracked. He is 15 but is almost the same height as Viera. He earned that substitution.

  8. TWO CONTRASTING FACTS; almost all players who go on to be TOP, TOP quality players, are showing exceptional ability way above their own age group from age 13 onwards, Conversely, most players who DO show that exceptional ability extremely early on , do NOT go on to make extremely TOP LEVEL CAREERS.
    Naturally people within the game are super excited because of his young age and progress But purely statistically, most players so far ahead of their age groups ability at even 15, do NOT make supreme level , though almost all DO go on to have a good career.

    Good mind you, NOT great. Perspective!

  9. I have full faith in the Arsenal Academy coaches and they must have told MA something really good about this kid and thats how he got his debut. I am sure he will make appearances in the Cup games and maybe in Europa games so that we can judge him better. But from what I have read about him he seems to be a real talent.

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