Arsenal Academy expert Jeorge Bird on Ethan Nwaneri: Mikel Arteta must select talented Young Gun again in first team very soon

EFL Trophy Swindon Town 2-2 Arsenal U21 - Young Guns win 5-4 on penalties to earn bonus point

Arsenal Academy expert Jeorge Bird on Ethan Nwaneri: Mikel Arteta must select talented Young Gun again in first team very soon

Ethan Nwaneri at the end of the 2-2 draw at Swindon Town in the EFL Trophy on Tuesday evening. CREDIT: @laythy29

Arsenal U21s drew 2-2 away to Swindon Town in their opening EFL Trophy group game on Tuesday night before prevailing on penalties to earn a bonus point.

Ethan Nwaneri has started the season in hugely impressive style for the U21s as he caught the eye against West Ham United and then netted a hat-trick against Leicester City.

The highly regarded midfielder followed that up by giving a good account of himself against Swindon as he gained further valuable experience.

Nwaneri provided a glimpse of his ability very early on as he played the ball into the path of Charles Sagoe Jr, who found the net but was ruled offside.

In the first half especially, Nwaneri was playing much in the same manner as he has been in U21 league games as he showed good strength, looked composed in possession and played slick passes, including one delightful switch to find James Sweet.

The England youth international may have faded a little as the game wore on but his quality is unquestionable and he also demonstrated confidence to score an excellent penalty in the shoot-out.

Although Swindon fielded a rather young team themselves, being involved in this game was still a useful experience for Nwaneri and the upcoming fixtures against Exeter and Reading will also provide him with challenges that will aid his overall progress.

Nwaneri provided the assist for Lino Sousa's goal in the 11th minute with a neat pass and there were several other instances in which he caused problems for Swindon.

Although he is the youngest player in this Arsenal U21 team it is difficult to argue against the suggestion that he is the most talented, or at least one of the individuals with the highest potential.

Nwaneri featured in the EFL Trophy last season but he is now a much more rounded player and is performing with greater consistency.

Mikel Arteta was in attendance as Nwaneri ran the show against Leicester and the Arsenal manager will also receive positive feedback regarding how the youngster performed tonight.

With Arsenal having a big first-team squad Nwaneri may have to be patient to add further appearances to his record-breaking debut against Brentford last season.

However, if Arsenal face a lower league side in the Carabao Cup for example then Nwaneri surely has to be in contention to play.

He has progressed to such a stage where, despite being 16 years old, he is becoming increasingly difficult to ignore.

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