Forget Nwaneri: “Skilful” Hale End teen can be Arsenal’s next big thing, he’s Saka 2.0 – Invimeo
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Forget Nwaneri: “Skilful” Hale End teen can be Arsenal’s next big thing, he’s Saka 2.0

Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta broke a Premier League record after he handed a professional debut to Ethan Nwaneri, 15, in their 3-0 win over Brentford right before the international break.

Aged just 15 and 181 days, the teenager took Cesc Fabregas’ crown at the Gunners, with the Spaniard making his first-team bow in a League Cup clash with Rotherham United back in 2003.

He also usurped Liverpool‘s Harvey Elliott, who came on as a substitute at the age of 16 years and 30 days for former club Fulham against Wolverhampton Wanderers three years ago, as the youngest-ever debutant in the Premier League era.

However, the north London giants could well have another future star from their famed Hale End academy in Amario Cozier-Duberry.

The 17-year-old gem was named on the bench for Arsenal’s Europa League clash with FC Zurich two weeks ago and whilst he didn’t manage to feature, the versatile attacker could be the next youngster to make the transition from the U23s to the first-team setup.

Last season, Cozier-Duberry enjoyed a breakthrough at U18 level, playing as both a winger and wing-back and as a result, he signed his first professional deal in June 2022.

As per Transfermarkt, the emerging talent provided four goals and four assists across 20 appearances in the U18 Premier League and that form has continued into this campaign, where he has delivered a further two goals and two assists from four Premier League 2 outings.

It’s certainly an impressive feat to be mixing it with players five or six years his senior and is perhaps why the Arsenal official website describes the teenage as ‘skilful and determined.’

Cozier-Duberry’s versatility in being able to play on both the left and right flank, as well as at wing-back, should earn plenty of comparisons to current first-team star and England player of the year Bukayo Saka, given his ability to do the exact same job.

That progression from the U18s to U23s to being named on the bench in the UEL only adds further similarity to that of Saka and his rapid rise through the Gunners’ youth ranks, too.

“He’s undoubtedly one of the best players in the academy and has done well this season,” Arsenal youth reporter Jeorge Bird said of the 17-year-old starlet, whilst in another tweet he described the youngster as “very direct and skilful.”

Given the constant need for options at both left wing-back and in attack, Cozier-Duberry could well emerge as a viable option for Arteta heading into the remainder of the 2022/23 campaign and as such, he could well be Arsenal’s next big thing – so forget Nwaneri… for now at least.

 

 

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