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Granit Xhaka predicts ‘very special’ Ethan Nwaneri will have a ‘bright future’

Granit Xhaka has heaped praise on Ethan Nwaneri after the Arsenal star became the youngster in history to appear in the Premier League.

The 15-year-old came off the bench to replace Bukayo Saka in Arsenal’s 3-0 win over Brentford at the Community Stadium on Sunday.

Xhaka says Nwaneri is “very special” and insists the youngster “has a bright future ahead” but claims Arsenal need to “protect” his prodigy.

After Sunday’s Arsenal game, Xhaka said: “We have to check the pass first! I am joking. Having a man who is 15 and almost 15 years younger than me.

“He looks old when I see him but the club can be proud of a player like him. He has a great future. I’m doing my coaching license and have coached the U16s.

“You can see a big difference between him and the other guys. He’s very, very special. You have to protect him because he’s very young, but if he keeps up his hard work like this, he’ll have a great, great future.

“I’m not the only one who feels old. I was talking to a Brenford guy and I told him this guy is 15 and he looked at me and said ‘Fuck me, we look old!’

“When you’re 15 years apart, you’re like, ‘OK, that time isn’t over, but it’s on the way.’ But we enjoy it, it enjoys us because it has the quality.

Nwaneri was due to spend the season at Arsenal U18s but was quickly promoted to U21s following his impressive performances.

He has already scored four goals and four assists for the Under-18s and Under-21s this season – something Mikel Arteta has noticed.

As a result, Nwaneri was promoted to first-team training this week and added to Arsenal’s Premier League squad on Sunday.

Nwaneri was not supposed to come on but the decision to bring the youngster in shows great appreciation for his progress over the past 12 months.

With Arsenal easily winning the game 3-0, Arteta decided to give the youngster his first Premier League debut.

Nwaneri now holds the record for the youngest player in Premier League history.

Liverpool star Harvey Elliott was the youngest when he played at Fulham at 16 years and 30 days.

Meanwhile, Cesc Fabregas held the all-time Arsenal record at the age of 16 years and 177 days when he played against Rotherham in a League Cup game in 2003.

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