Arsenal legend David Seaman has raved about Ethan Nwaneri after the teenager made his senior Gunners debut against Brentford last weekend.
Mikel Arteta included the youngster in the squad after Martin Odegaard was ruled out due to an injury. Arsenal fans didn’t really think much of it when they first saw his name on the team sheet, but he has been the talk of the town since.
Nwaneri was brought on for the final few minutes of the game against Brentford, and the 15-year-old is now the youngest player in the history of the Premier League.
David Seaman couldn’t believe Ethan Nwaneri’s age when he first saw him in Arsenal training
Seaman has been doing some coaching work at Arsenal with their younger players over the last few months.
The legendary Englishman revealed that he spotted Nwaneri in training recently with the U18s and U21s, and he just couldn’t believe that the attacking midfielder is still only 15 years old.
Seaman told talkSPORT: “It’s great for us to be making history, but you have to think of the long term. If you are good enough, you are old enough.
“He’s got to be handled right off the pitch. He’s a really good player, but you have to look after him. It all depends on how good you are and that’s what determines whether you get a chance to play or not.
“I’ve seen this guy in training when I’ve been going in and coaching with the Under-23s and Under-18s. Honestly, you wouldn’t believe his age.
“He is at that age. He looks like he’s a fully experienced pro. Then you find out how old he is… 15! He’s that good, but still has to be handled right.
“Very similar to Ryan Giggs, he was handled perfectly by Fergie and look how good he turned out to be. It’s about making sure he gets the right treatment off the field. He will certainly get it at the training ground and in games, he will be well looked after. He’s that good that he can handle all that.”
Arteta has received a lot of stick over the last few days for handing Nwaneri his Arsenal debut at such a young age. Many believe it’s way too early for him, but Seaman’s right – if you’re good enough, you’re old enough.
Arsenal have always been a club that has given opportunities to young players. From Cesc Fabregas and Jack Wilshere to Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe, there are plenty of examples. Nwaneri could well follow in their footsteps now.
However, it is very important to manage him properly.
The likes of Arteta, Edu and Per Mertesacker will all be very aware of that, and we’re sure he’ll be looked after the right way as he continues his development at Arsenal.