Everything you need to know about Arsenal record-breaker Ethan Nwaneri

Everything you need to know about Arsenal record-breaker Ethan Nwaneri

As a 15-year-old, I was too consumed by the formation of oxbow lakes, Roman history, and FIFA Career Mode that I had very little time to become the youngest player to ever appear in the Premier League. It just wasn’t feasible.

Arsenal youngster Ethan Nwaneri, however, is cut from a different cloth.

Buoyant Gooners in the away stand were quick to humble the Year 11 student as he strode onto the Brentford Community Stadium turf in added time to make a little bit of history.

“SCHOOL IN THE MORNING, HE’S GOT SCHOOL IN THE MORNING!” the fans chanted but the thought of Period 1 maths on Tuesday (the Queen’s funeral meant there was no school on Monday) was surely the last thing on young Nwaneri’s mind.

The 15-year-old has made huge strides at a youth level for the Gunners, but he’s a player that even the most ardent of Arsenal supporters aren’t too familiar with.

Everything you need to know about Arsenal record-breaker Ethan Nwaneri

So, in this piece, we’ll try to build a profile of the Premier League record-breaker. Here’s everything you need to know about 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri.

Bright in the classroom

The need for young footballers to have a backup career plan should their footballing exploits not pan out is imperative. Fortunately for Nwaneri, though, he’s more than handy in the academic sphere.

To attend his secondary school (St John’s Preparatory and Senior School in Enfield, north London), Nwaneri had to take an entrance exam but he passed with flying colours, scoring 98%.

Nwaneri’s parents, meanwhile, expect him to return impressive GCSE results next summer.

Nevertheless, it was Nwaneri’s footballing ability that got him a scholarship at the well-regarded St John’s and during the trials, the then ten-year-old was forced to leave the field to ensure the other kids were given a fair shot such was Nwaneri’s superiority. He was a cut above the rest.

“We could not evaluate any other player while Ethan dominated,” Alexander Tardios, the St John’s headmaster, says.

England youth international

Nwaneri has been at Arsenal since he was nine and he’s developed into one of the most promising teenagers currently on the Gunners’ books.

The 15-year-old, who is an attacking midfielder and has been described by Tardios as the “new Wayner Rooney”, has represented England Under-16s and 17s in the past year.

He’s used to playing a year or two up and after he made Premier League history on Sunday, Nwaneri got on a flight to Poland to compete in a tournament with the England Under-17s. The Arsenal starlet has scored a goal each for the 16s and 17s.

He only just made his debut for Arsenal’s Under-21s

Nwaneri’s rise to Premier League record-breaker was swift. It wasn’t too long ago when the attacking midfielder was training with 14-year-olds twice a week.

At the end of the 2020/21 campaign, Nwaneri made his debut for Arsenal’s Under-18s against Reading just a month after he turned 14 and he scored a goal that was well worthy of some Ian Bishop “REMEMBER THE NAME” commentary.

Nwaneri received possession in an inside right position, cut onto his left foot and curled a wonderful effort into the top corner.

He notched four goal contributions in five appearances for the Under-18s last season, and his impressive form was rewarded with a step-up to the Under-21s at the start of 2022/23. Nwaneri made his debut against Blackburn earlier this month, playing an hour in a 4-1 victory.

Granit Xhaka is a big fan

Nwaneri is a playmaker who has quickly developed a penchant for scoring goals. He boasts quick feet, a useful turn of pace, 20/20 vision, and an eye for the final pass.

Comparisons have been drawn with Under-18s coach Jack Wilshere, but Nwaneri is certainly more forward-thinking than the starlet of yesteryear.

The 15-year-old’s talent is off the charts, and he didn’t take too long to endear himself to Arsenal leader Granit Xhaka, who has been coaching the Under-16s as part of his coaching badges.

“You can see a big difference with him [Nwaneri] and the other guys,” Xhaka told CBS Sports.

“He is very, very special. Of course, you have to protect him as he is very young, but if he keeps going like this with his hard work he has a big, big future.”

The Swiss midfielder said Nwaneri hasn’t trained too much with the first team and he described the teenager as being “very shy”.

“You have to protect him and help him,” Xhaka added. “Football is not everything for him and for us, but yes, the club will help him and the experienced players have to help him.”

Nwaneri certainly has an admirer in Xhaka, and the record-breaker is clearly held in high regard at Arsenal. However, for us fans, we must not place lofty expectations on the 15-year-old and let him develop at his own pace.

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