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'F*ck me, we are looking old!' - Xhaka warns Arsenal must 'protect' Nwaneri & reveals Brentford reaction to 15-year-old's debut

7:58 AM WAT 20/09/2022
Martinelli Ethan Nwaneri Arsenal
Granit Xhaka has hailed Arsenal debutant Ethan Nwaneri as a "very special" talent, but also insists the club now needs to "protect" the 15-year-old.
  • Nwaneri became youngest PL player
  • Claimed record from Harvey Elliott
  • Xhaka tips him for big things

WHAT HAPPENED? Xhaka has given his thoughts on Nwaneri's record-breaking debut on Saturday. The attacking midfielder became the youngest player in Premier League history after coming on as a sub in the Gunners' 3-0 victory over Brentford.

WHAT THEY SAID: To have a guy who is 15, who is 15 years younger than me…he looks old when I see him but the club can be proud of a player like him. He has a big future, if I am honest, I am doing my coaching licence and I have trained the Under-16s. You can see a big difference with him and the other guys. He is very, very special," Xhaka said.

"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. I spoke with one Brentford guy and I told him this guy was 15 and he looked at me and said: ‘F*ck me, we are looking old!"

THE BIGGER PICTURE: Speaking after the game, Arteta revealed that a "gut feeling" convinced him to hand the youngster his maiden bow. Arsenal already had the win sewn up when he came on in second-half stoppage time, thanks to goals from William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

DID YOU KNOW? Nwaneri (15 years 181 days) replaces Harvey Elliott (16 years 83 days) as the youngest-ever Premier League player. Prior to Elliott, Matt Briggs - currently plying his trade in the seventh tier of English football with Gosport Borough - held the record for 12 years.

WHAT NEXT FOR NWANERI? Nwaneri could be in line for further cameos this season -particularly in the Europa League where Arsenal have tended to blood young players in the past.