Arsenal: Ian Wright makes Xhaka admission and reacts to Nwaneri debut | Football


Ian Wright was pleased to see Arsenal return to winning ways at Brentford (Picture: BBC)

Ian Wright singled out Granit Xhaka for praise after Arsenal’s victory over Brentford and says he was ‘proud’ to see 15-year-old Ethan Nwaneri feature and make Premier League history.

The Gunners clinched their sixth win in seven top-flight games this season as they beat Brentford 3-0 thanks to goals from William Saliba, Gabriel Jesus and Fabio Vieira.

Mikel Arteta’s side lost to Manchester United in their previous Premier League fixture but returned to winning ways in west London to ensure they sit top of the table going into the international break.

Xhaka has been in superb form this season and impressed again in Sunday’s victory over Brentford, providing a brilliant cross for Jesus’ goal and generally thwarting Thomas Frank’s side.

Arsenal legend Wright told BBC’s Match of the Day: ‘For me, Granit Xhaka is a player that we’re finally see play like he does for Switzerland.

‘He’s playing in a position that suits him, playing more offensively. He’s playing with real authority and confidence.

‘Lately he’s been able to find space and from there he can be really dangerous because, for me, he’s got easily one of the best left-foots in the Premier League.

Granit Xhaka impressed in Arsenal's 3-0 win in west London

Granit Xhaka impressed in Arsenal’s 3-0 win in west London (Picture: Getty)

‘It’s a great cross for the Jesus goal, it’s fantastic. He can also do the defensive stuff, he gets back and get his foot in there.

‘He set the tempo for Arsenal off the ball. I’m really pleased for him because I was one of his staunchest critics. But now we’re seeing the best of Granit Xhaka.’

Arsenal schoolboy Nwaneri became the youngest player in Premier League history when he came on for a brief cameo against Brentford.

The 15-year-old, who was called up for Arsenal first-team training for the first time on Saturday, broke the record previously held by Harvey Elliott.

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‘I’m so proud of that for Arsenal,’ Wright added. ‘To get in the team at that stage, some people might think it’s a stunt, but those people – Mikel, Per, Edu – are not putting him in there for a joke.

‘They’re not going to bring people in just for the sake of it. They think very highly of him, he was playing for the U18s when he was 14.

‘What I think this does is sent a massive message to the other academy players and shows them they all have a chance of playing in that first team.’

Arsenal boss Arteta has also discussed Nwaneri’s slice of history, telling reporters: ‘It was a feeling that I had yesterday, I don’t know why.

‘The first day I met him I looked him in his eyes and everyone was telling me about him, Per was telling me about him, and because of the injuries we only have 12 or 13 senior players yesterday to put in the squad and we decided to bring him, and that’s it.

‘It’s one step, one experience, so enjoy it and congratulations! It’s just one step and all the steps in your career are not forward and you have to know that.

‘You can go forward then backwards and then forwards. You fall, you go back – that’s, unfortunately, this industry and the football career of any player.’

MORE : Fabio Vieira reacts to scoring wondergoal on full Premier League debut for Arsenal

MORE : Alan Shearer rates Arsenal’s title chances after Gunners go top of the Premier League

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