The Gunners have one of the best academy setups in England which has seen them develop the likes of Bukayo Saka, Emile Smith Rowe, Cesc Fabregas and Serge Gnabry. The most exciting thing of all, however, is that it’s showing no sign of slowing down.
That’s because a new rising star is beginning to gather attention at U18 level. Ethan Nwaneri increased his rapidly growing reputation on Saturday by getting on the scoresheet as the Gunners beat Southampton 4-2 in the U18 Premier League.
All Nigeria Soccer reports that the attacking midfielder doubled Arsenal’s lead with a shot from just outside the area during what was his third start of the season. Despite being just 14-years-old, Nwaneri is already playing above his age group for both club and country after being named in the starting lineup for the England U16s last month.
He made his Arsenal debut against Reading U18s in May of last year, but the Daily Cannon reported that both teams had agreed to name younger sides for the fixture. Nonetheless, it was still a competitive Premier League clash and Nwaneri scored in a 6-1 win before providing two assists against the same opponents in February.
The youngster will not be eligible to sign scholarship terms with the north London side until the summer of 2023 but is being put through the U18 ranks whilst still a schoolboy in the hope it accelerates his development, and so far the signs are looking positive. Nwaneri is one of a number of exciting youthful talents emerging out of Hale End, with Charlie Patino, Omari Hutchinson, and Salah-Eddine Oulad M’Hand participating in first-team duties over recent months.
football.london understands 18-year-old Marcelo Flores is next in line for a senior promotion, and Arteta plans to assess him over pre-season to see whether he could be integrated into the first-team picture. With so many young stars in the making at Arsenal, Nwaneri certainly has the platform to go far and it appears he has the talent too. The success of the Hale End academy will enable him to aim big and follow in the footsteps of fellow attacking midfielder Smith Rowe, who was once in the same position.