Murphy criticises Arteta over ‘gut feeling’ to hand Nwaneri debut in Arsenal win over Brentford

Date published: Tuesday 20th September 2022 11:36 - Will Ford

Nwaneri Arsenal

Danny Murphy says he’s “not convinced” Mikel Arteta made the right call in handing 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri his debut for Arsenal against Brentford.

Nwaneri, who was born in 2007, became the youngest player in Premier League history, beating the record previously set by Harvey Elliott, when he came off the bench for the Gunners in their 3-0 win on Sunday.

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The teenager was called up for first-team training the day before the clash and was serenaded with chants of ‘He’s going to school in the morning!’ by the Arsenal fans.

Ian Wright was among those to revel in Nwaneri’s debut but Murphy has questioned Arteta’s decision to bring him on, and claims there must be players “further ahead in their development” who could have been used instead.

“I am not convinced it is the best move for a young player, I’m really not,” Murphy told talkSPORT.

“I have seen superstars come on the scene at a young age and thrive and go on and carry on, but there has also been a lot who have fallen by the wayside.

“He is obviously a super talent, doing well in training and impressing everybody, but surely they have got other 18, 19 and 20-year-olds who are further ahead in their development who could have gone on the bench.

“I think Arteta is probably trying to keep a young superstar happy but I’m not sure about it.”

Speaking after Arsenal’s routine win at Brentford, Arteta explained why he decided to bring on Nwaneri.

He said: “It was a gut feeling that I had yesterday, I don’t know why.

“The first day I met him I looked him in his eyes and everyone was telling me about him, Per was telling me about him, and because of the injuries we only have 12 or 13 senior players yesterday to put in the squad and we decided to bring him, and that’s it.

“It’s one step, one experience, so enjoy it and congratulations! It’s just one step and all the steps in your career are not forward and you have to know that.

“You can go forward then backwards and then forwards. You fall, you go back – that’s, unfortunately, this industry and the football career of any player.”

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