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Arsenal: Danny Murphy accuses Mikel Arteta of mismanaging ‘super-talent’ Ethan Nwaneri

Danny Murphy accuses Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta of mismanaging ‘super talent’ Ethan Nwaneri after making him the youngest ever Premier League player… and insists the Spaniard is only ‘trying to keep a young superstar happy’

  • Ethan Nwaneri made Premier League history in Arsenal’s win at Brentford
  • He came on break in the win and became the youngest ever player in the top flight
  • Gunners boss Mikel Arteta insisted the 15-year-old’s performance was based on merit
  • But Danny Murphy believes he would have been better off away from the limelight
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Danny Murphy has hit out at Arsenal boss Mikel Arteta, accusing him of mismanaging Ethan Nwaneri.

The midfielder became the youngest ever Premier League player at 15 years and 181 days when he came off the bench in stoppage time of the Gunners’ 3-0 win at Brentford on Sunday.

Arsenal boss Arteta insisted Nwaneri’s performance was based on merit, but speaking on talkSPORT, Sports mail columnist Murphy believes the England Under-17 international would have benefited from not being thrust into the limelight.

Sportsmail columnist Danny Murphy
Sportsmail columnist Danny Murphy
Ethan Nwaneri made Premier League history on Sunday
Ethan Nwaneri made Premier League history on Sunday

Danny Murphy (left) has criticized Mikel Arteta’s decision to bring on Ethan Nwaneri (right) in Arsenal’s win at Brentford

Nwaneri became the youngest ever Premier League player after coming on as a substitute
Nwaneri became the youngest ever Premier League player after coming on as a substitute

Nwaneri became the youngest ever Premier League player after coming on as a substitute

He also believes that Arteta was simply trying to keep ‘super talent’ Nwaneri happy, with the youngster having his pick of clubs at his disposal with Man City and Liverpool among the clubs interested in him.

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

‘I’ve seen superstars come on at a young age and thrive and go on and on, but there have also been many who have fallen by the wayside.

– He is of course a super talent who does well in training and impresses everyone, but they certainly have other 18, 19 and 20-year-olds who are further along in their development, who could have gone on the bench.

Murphy believes Gunners boss Arteta 'tried to keep young superstar happy'
Murphy believes Gunners boss Arteta 'tried to keep young superstar happy'

Murphy believes Gunners boss Arteta ‘tried to keep young superstar happy’

‘I think he’s probably trying to keep a young superstar happy.’

However, Spaniard Arteta revealed he was convinced by a ‘gut’ to play Nwaneri if the situation was right.

Arteta said: ‘It was a gut feeling. When I met him, when I looked at him, I had that feeling. I really liked what I saw.

‘Per Mertesacker and the academy staff give me really good information, including Edu. I met him, he has trained a few times with us.

‘He had to come because we have injuries, especially the injury of Martin (Odegaard), and then I had the feeling from yesterday that if the opportunity could come, then I would do it and I (did) just that.

‘I told him to be with us and I want him to experience what it’s like to be in the hotel, prepare for the game to be around the boys and to be ready.

‘If you’re going to be on that bench, you have to be ready. The boy just looks into your eyes and he’s ready. [When he was coming on I said] just congratulations and enjoy.’

‘All the decisions we make and that I make are for the club. It’s not for me, it’s not for the player, it’s because we believe he has a talent that will develop incredibly in the next two or three years.

‘We’ll see how we manage, but the boy will dictate it. Usually it’s not us, usually the players tell you and demand of you how far you can go on it.’

The teenager was promoted to first-team training this week following his impressive performances
The teenager was promoted to first-team training this week following his impressive performances

The teenager was promoted to first-team training this week following his impressive performances

‘It sends a strong message about who we are as a club. That we will provide opportunities when there is talent, when there is personality and when there are players who love what they do so much and when they are not afraid. The doors are open to explore where they can go.’

Nwaneri was expected to spend the season with Arsenal under-18s, but he was quickly promoted to the under-21s following his impressive performances.

He has already scored four goals and provided four assists for both the Under-18s and Under-21s so far this season – which is catching Arteta’s eye.

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