Arsenal fast-tracked the decision to push Ethan Nwaneri into the first-team due to interest from Manchester United and Liverpool.
The 15-year-old became the youngest player in history to play in the Premier League when he came on as a late substitute in Arsenal’s 3-0 win against Brentford on Sunday.
The midfielder was drafted into the Gunners’ first team training late last week and he impressed Mikel Arteta with his calmness and composure.
The Spaniard said following the victory that his decision to hand the teenager his debut was a ‘gut feeling’ after his call-up to first team training.
‘It was a pure gut feeling, I met the kid and I liked what I saw,” said Arteta.
‘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.’
But the Times claim there was an ulterior motive behind Arteta’s decision to hand Nwaneri his debut.
It’s claimed the Gunners are wary of interest from Manchester United and Liverpool for the midfielder and the club have decided to ‘fast-track’ his development.
The Gunners are keen to show the teenager that there is a pathway for him into the club’s first team from the academy.
The likes of Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe are already playing for the first team and the Gunners have one of the youngest squads in the Premier League.
Nevertheless, with such interest in Nwaneri, Arteta feels he must work to persuade him that his future is best served by staying at the Emirates.
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