Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta has showered praise on Ethan Nwaneri, drawing comparisons between the young talent and Arsenal legend Jack Wilshere in a pre-match press conference before their UEFA Champions League clash with PSV Eindhoven. Nwaneri, an English U17 international of Nigerian descent, is part of Arsenal's traveling squad for the fixture, and if he plays, he will become the youngest player to represent Arsenal in European competition at 16 years and 266 days.
The left-footed attacking midfielder has made a notable impact for Arsenal's development squad, showcasing impressive performances with six goal involvements in six games. He recently demonstrated his prowess in the FA Youth Cup by scoring five goals against Crewe, emphasizing that U18 football is relatively easy for him.
Arteta appreciates Nwaneri's unique abilities, especially his knack for handling the ball in tight areas, reminiscent of Wilshere's playing style. The manager commended Nwaneri's consistent training mentality across different age groups, praising his personality and adaptability.
Despite being in the first year of his scholarship at Arsenal and expected to turn professional in March 2024, Nwaneri has notched historical achievements. He made his debut in the Premier League against Brentford in September 2022, becoming the youngest player to do so. However, he hasn't made a senior appearance since that match, missing an opportunity against Lens on November 29.
Arteta's comparison of Nwaneri to Wilshere highlights the manager's excitement about the young talent's potential and playing style.