Arsenal played their seventh Premier League match of the season against Brentford on Sunday (September 18). They reclaimed their place at the top of the table, beating the Bees 3-0.
William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira got their names on the scoresheet for the Gunners. Xhaka also impressed for Mikel Arteta’s side on the afternoon, providing an assist for Jesus’ goal.
Another player who grabbed headlines in the match between Arsenal and Brentford was Nwaneri. The attacker made his senior debut for the north London giants, coming as a late substitute for Vieira.
At 15 years of age, Nwaneri has become the youngest player to appear in the English top flight. He has also etched his name in the Gunners history books, becoming their youngest ever player.
Xhaka has now provided a glowing assessment of the teenager, who he has coached at the Under-16s level to acquire his coaching license. The Swiss labeled Nwaneri as a uniquely special player and went on to claim that he has a big future ahead of him. The Arsenal star was quoted as saying by CBS Sports:
“I am doing my coaching license and I have trained [him in] the under-16s. You can see a big difference with him and the other guys. He is very, very special.”
“Of course, you have to protect him as he is very young, but if he keeps going like this with his hard work he has a big, big future.”
Xhaka also revealed that Nwaneri is shy, but tipped him to become a regular with the Gunners’ first-team squad. He also stressed the need to protect the youngster considering his tender age. He said:
“He is not with us a lot in training. I have maybe seen him two or three times now. But he is very shy, of course, but the time will come when he will be more with us.”
“You have to protect him and help him. Football is not everything for him and for us, but yes, the club will help him and the experienced players have to help him.”
Having made his senior debut for the north London giants at the weekend, Nwaneri will be hopeful of getting more playing time under his belt this term.
Arsenal star Xhaka jokes about time ‘being on the way’ for him
Xhaka will turn 30 years old next week and is 15 years older than Nwaneri. The midfielder joked about how the difference in age makes him realize that his career is slowly nearing an end. He said (as per the aforementioned report):
“I spoke with one Brentford guy and I told him this guy was 15 and he looked at me and said: ‘f— me, we are looking old!’ So yes, of course, when you have 15 years difference you think ‘OK, the time is not gone but it is on the way [for me].’ But we are enjoying him, he is enjoying us as he has the quality.”
Xhaka has made eight appearances across all competitions for Arsenal this term, contributing to four goals in the process.