At only 15 years and 181 days, Ethan Nuaneri became the youngest player to step onto the field in the history of the entire English football elite.
The teenager came on as a substitute for the final minutes of Sunday’s 3-0 win over Brentford. In the minute he spent on the pitch, Nuaneri touched the ball just once, but in doing so he broke all sorts of age-old records for Arsenal and in England in general.
For the first time ever, a player born in 2007 appeared in a game in all the top 5 championships in Europe.
Nuaneri is still “counted” as a talent from the “gunners” school, but, even at this age, the 15-year-old boy shows remarkable qualities and “pulls” seriously in his development in recent months.
The midfielder started the season as part of the under-18 squad, but gradually rose through the age groups to reach the first team. For the under-18 and under-21 teams of the “gunners”, the young midfielder has four goals and five assists in a total of ten games.
One of those came in the North London derby, when Nuaneri scored the fourth goal in Tottenham’s 4-1 win in a match between the under-18s.
In August, Arsenal’s under-18s played control against sixth-division Slough Town. 15-year-old Ethan also took part in the friendly match.
“Although he is still very young, their ‘ten’ has outstanding technique. He shows really incredible qualities. He has a chance to become a real star for Arsenal.”said Slough mentor Neil Baker.
At the national level, Nuaneri played for the under-16 team, but has recently been part of the under-21 team. Due to his performance in the academy and the national team, Mikel Arteta called him up to Arsenal’s first team.
The youngster’s best qualities so far are his speed and movement with the ball at his feet. An attacking midfielder by definition, Nuaneri prefers to operate in the “ten” role, but can play throughout the attack.
Nuaneri found a place on Arsenal’s bench for the game against Brentford due to injury problems – Martin Jodegaard and Oleksandr Zinchenko are injured. But even without the absentees, it seems that Mikel Arteta saw something special in the boy.
After the game, Gary Lineker joked on social media: “Good thing the game ended in time for Ethan to do his homework.”
To get a better idea of how small, not even young, Nuaneri still is. The talent was not yet born when Saul Campbell, Robert Pires and Ashley Cole left Arsenal. At the time of Thierry Henry’s transfer to Barcelona, Ethan was only four months old.
Another record holder helps in its development. For years, Jack Wilshere was the youngest debutant for Arsenal in the Premier League, and since the summer, the former midfielder has taken over the Gunners’ under-18 team.
But Nuaneri didn’t just improve his performance. The youngster is the youngest debutant for Arsenal in all competitions, overtaking Cesc Fabregas in this regard. Ethan can only hope in the future to achieve at least half of what the Spaniard did in his magical career at club and national level.