Mikel Arteta names Arsenal youngster close to first-team breakthrough | Football

Mikel Arteta has sent a message to Arsenal wonderkid Ethan Nwaneri (Picture: Getty)

Mikel Arteta has told Ethan Nwaneri he is close to making a first-team breakthrough at Arsenal, urging him to make the most of the opportunity.

Nwaneri became the youngest player in Premier League history after making his debut for the Gunners in a 3-0 win at Brentford on September 18, 2022.

The 17-year-old midfielder made his second first-team appearance this season, coming off the bench in the historic 6-0 victory at West Ham in February.

Speaking after that match, Arteta said Nwaneri had already earned the ‘trust’ of his teammates in the senior squad, while he may now be set for more game time.

Nwaneri recently signed his first professional contract with Arsenal as he snubbed interest from Chelsea and Manchester City.

‘I was really happy [for Nwaneri signing a pro contract],’ Arteta told the Evening Standard this week.

‘He had a great day, he had all his family and important people around him. A really proud moment to see another academy graduate signing his pro contract.

West Ham United v Arsenal FC - Premier League

Ethan Nwaneri made his second first-team appearance this season (Picture: Getty)

‘He is very close to the first team. The opportunity is there, now he needs to take it.’

Meanwhile, Arteta lauded Nwaneri back in December and said: ‘The personality he has, he trains with us like he trains with the under-18s or under-16s and I love that in a player.

‘He’s got that bit between his teeth as well that he wants to show every single day how good he is and to impress people. When you have someone like that, you have to give him hope.’

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