By Daniel Feliciano

23rd Sep, 2022 | 5:11pm

Scouting expert: Ethan Nwaneri's Arsenal debut opens door for next gen to dream

We’re delighted to welcome Football Manager’s Wolves researcher Dave Azzopardi as our exclusive columnist. Each week the scouting expert will be giving his views on the biggest talking points on Wonderkids across the UK…

Ethan Nwaneri’s Arsenal debut has opened the door for the next generation to dream about first-team football, according to Dave Azzopardi.

Mikel Arteta handed 15-year-old Nwaneri his Premier League debut in the 3-0 win over Brentford last weekend, making him the youngest Premier League player in the history of the competition.

While there has been some criticism for the decision, our resident scouting expert feels the decision is going to serve as motivation for the next generation and could help Arsenal entice other young players to the club ahead of their rivals.

It makes me feel old and I’m not even that old,” he told The Football Wonderkids.

“It’s crazy. The good thing about this is that younger players now in and around academies who are 13, 14, 15, even 16, 17 year-olds can look at that and see that there is an opportunity for them to play first-team football.

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“I think obviously in more recent years clubs have gone out and yes they’ve got youth systems but they just go out and spend £30-40m on players from abroad and they almost neglect their youth system.

“I think this has given young academy players a vision that they can break into the first-team, whatever age they are and there is a route there to Premier League football. So I hope this is just the start for many young players, and I don’t think we’ll see many as young as 15, but younger players who are 17, 18 years of age being able to break into their first-team more often.

“It’s good for them because if you’ve got a 14 or 15-year-old and they’ve got to choose between Chelsea, Arsenal or Spurs. You look at Arsenal who have got 15-18 year old players playing for them, they’re going to join them because you’ve got a great chance of playing regular first-team football.

“It’s a foot in the door for younger players.”

In other Arsenal news, Gabriel Martinelli is set for his breakthrough season according to our scouting expert