Mikel Arteta has revealed a ‘gut feeling’ persuaded him to give Arsenal teenager Ethan Nwaneri his record-breaking Premier League debut.
Nwaneri became the youngest player in Premier League history when introduced in the closing stages of Arsenal’s 3-0 win at Brentford on Sunday.
The midfielder is the first under 16 player to feature in the Premier League and the youngest top-flight footballer in English football history, aged just 15 years and 181 days old. His record-breaking debut saw him break the previous landmark held by Harvey Elliott, who was 16 years and 38 days when making his first league appearance for Fulham in 2019.
Arteta has opened up on his decision to hand Nwaneri a chance and admits a ‘gut feeling’ was behind the teenager’s selection for the senior side.
“It was a pure gut feeling, I met the kid and I liked what I saw,” Arteta told Sky Sports.
“He has trained a couple of times with us and I had a feeling yesterday that if the opportunity came I would do it.
”But I think it sends a strong message about who we are as a club. I told him yesterday he would be with us and he had to be ready. He is ready. When he went on I said ‘congratulations and enjoy it.
“I don’t know what it is. When I met him, when I looked at him, I had that feeling.”