Former Liverpool star, John Barnes, has sent a warning to Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta over midfielder Ethan Nwaneri amid comparisons to Paris Saint-Germain’s Lionel Messi and Manchester United’s Cristiano Ronaldo.
Nwaneri became the youngest player in the English Premier League, EPL, history after making his debut for Arsenal in their victory over Brentford last Sunday.
The 15-year-old replaced Fabio Vieira in injury time after being included in Arteta’s squad against Brentford.
Nwaneri, who was born in March 2007, was called up for first-team training for the first time on Saturday.
But Barnes has now told Arteta to ‘leave Nwaneri alone’ and feels the youngster is not ‘going to go in the team and play every week’ like Messi and Ronaldo when they started.
“If you look at the future, the future looks bright for Arsenal in terms of a lot of the young players,” Barnes told BonusCodeBets.
“Saka, you know, Martinelli, Odegaard. They have got a good, young team. But a 15-year-old being given his debut?
“You should leave him alone because, of course, Theo Walcott made his debut at 16 and this young boy coming in is not going to be anywhere near Arsenal’s first team, to be honest with you, when push comes to shove.
“It’s great for Arsenal to say we’ve got good young players coming through.
“But all of a sudden, I don’t want people to then put so much pressure on this young boy because he made his debut to say he should be playing all the time.
“It’s great for him and great for Arsenal for the future.
“I’m not saying it’s a gimmick because he’s good enough to obviously be playing, but I don’t think it’s a situation whereby you’re looking at a Lionel Messi at 16 or Cristiano Ronaldo knowing that he’s going to go in the team and play every week.
“So it’s good news at Arsenal pushing their youngsters through, but I don’t want to put pressure on this young boy and all of a sudden overemphasise that he should be playing this season or even next season.”
EPL: Arteta warned over Nwaneri amid Messi, Ronaldo comparisons