Mikel Arteta reveals Arsenal bench behind Nwaneri cameo at West Ham: ‘Bring Ethan in!’

 (AFP via Getty Images)
(AFP via Getty Images)

Mikel Arteta has revealed Arsenal players were behind his decision to bring on 16-year-old Ethan Nwaneri in their 6-0 win against West Ham.

Nwaneri was introduced off the bench after 77 minutes as Arsenal romped to a thumping win at the London Stadium.

The midfielder became the youngest player ever in the Premier League in 2021, when he made his Arsenal against Brentford aged 15 years and 181 days.

This was his first appearance of the season and but Arteta says Arsenal players “really trust” him.

Arteta said: “There is something that you have to earn in your team and that is the trust of your team-mates.

“I had two things. One, the players on the bench whispering ‘bring Ethan in!’, which is a great thing to hear. The other thing is for your team-mates to give you the ball all the time.

“If they do that, it’s because they really trust you and you only have to see how many times he was involved in that. So it’s a great sign.”

Arteta also hailed Bukayo Saka after he banished some ghosts following his penalty miss at West Ham last season.

Saka shone at the London Stadium and this time stepped up and scored from the spot as Arsenal make a statement about their title aspirations.

Arteta: “I had doubts whether he was going to take the penalty or not because of what happened but it shows you as well how mature he is and how determined he is to go to the next level.

“At his age, the position and consistency normally don’t go in the same line. He’s proving everybody wrong that he can do it.