Pundit claims handing Nwaneri Arsenal debut was ridiculous from Arteta
Jason Cundy has bizarrely claimed on talkSPORT that Mikel Arteta made a ridiculous decision handing Ethan Nwaneri his Arsenal debut at the weekend, and claimed that the Gunners boss did it to be able to say that he picked the youngest Premier League player ever.
Nwaneri was probably a name few away from Arsenal knew about before Sunday’s trip with Brentford. But he has now become one of the most talked-about names of the season so far.
The midfielder came on in stoppage-time during the 3-0 win to become the youngest ever Premier League player at 15 years and 181 days.
It is a remarkable feat from Nwaneri and Arsenal. And it seems that the hopes are extremely high for the teenager. Rio Ferdinand suggested that there is hope that he could be the Gunners’ own Phil Foden.
However, Cundy has taken a completely different view. The pundit is extremely sceptical about Mikel Arteta’s intentions behind handing Nwaneri his debut.
“That’s an unbelievable achievement for him on a personal level. There is a big but coming,” he told talkSPORT. “I’m sorry. I think that’s a really poor decision because it’s about Arteta. It’s all about Arteta. The manager who played the youngest ever player in the Premier League is me. I think that’s self-indulgent.
“When he was warming up and coming on, I’m thinking this is ridiculous. This has got nothing to do with the kid. This is all about Arteta, all about him. Self-indulgent, look what I’ve done.”
Handing Nwaneri debut a ridiculous decision from Arteta
Arsenal may have fast-tracked Nwaneri into the first-team fold. And there may be a reason behind that decision that is not exactly connected to how ready he is now.
But surely, that is to show Nwaneri that the pathway to the senior team is there for him at Arsenal. Reports have claimed that Liverpool are amongst the sides monitoring him. So the Gunners will want to do all they can to convince him to stay put.
To suggest that Arteta made a self-indulgent decision is extremely harsh. Of course, he cares about the player. If he did not, he would have picked an even younger player to ensure that the record was even safer.
It is fair to question whether Arsenal have made the right call handing a 15-year-old his debut given everything that will come with the appearance.
But what is not fair is to take away from Nwaneri’s momentous achievement by claiming that the decision was made by Arteta simply to benefit Arteta.
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