Ethan Nwaneri is continuing to impress in the Arsenal academy.
The Arsenal under-21 side beat Swindon Town on penalties, following a 2-2 draw, in an EFL Trophy clash on Tuesday. Ethan Nwaneri shone for the Gunners, as goals from Lino Sousa and Jimi Gower took the game to penalties.
The Arsenal youngsters held their nerve to win the shootout on what will have been a very educational outing for them against a senior mens side. The manager of the Gunners’ youth team, Mehmet Ali, was extremely impressed with how his players handled the occasion.
As quoted by The Athletic, Ali said, “they thrive off pressure. There were times where they gave the ball away or had a dip but you want them to experience that because it’s only going to help them as they move forward.”
Whilst he didn’t get on the scoresheet, Nwaneri was once again the star of the show for Arsenal. The 16-year-old pulled the strings for Arsenal, operating in the ‘left-eight’ midfield role, as Ali’s side seek to replicate the tactics and style of play used by Mikel Arteta’s first team.
Nwaneri has been in fine form recently, having netted a hat-trick in a Premier League 2 clash with Leicester City last week. The youngster is one of the most promising players in the north London club’s academy system, and recently committed his future to Arsenal.
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Ali previously told The Athletic that Nwaneri is “an exceptional talent and our job is to really support him. Playing as a ‘pocket’ player, who can hold his position, sometimes coming deeper or wider but really understanding that role is important for him.”
Arteta certainly recognises the teenager’s potential, and has already taken steps to reward it. Last season, on September 18th, Nwaneri was introduced from the bench against Brentford to make his senior debut for Arsenal. At 15 years and 181 days old, he became the youngest player to ever feature in the Premier League.
If Nwaneri carries on improving and impressing at his current rate, he could be due another taste of first team action this season. Reassuring him that a pathway into Arteta’s plans exists for him is vital at this stage.