Arsenal legend David Seaman has admitted he was shocked to learn Ethan Nwaneri was just 15 after seeing him on the training ground.
Nwaneri made Premier League history on Sunday by becoming the competition’s youngest ever debutant.
Mikel Arteta brought him on for a brief appearance at the end of their 3-0 win over Brentford which sent them back to the top of the table.
The decision to make his Nwaneri debut at such a young age has split opinion among talkSPORT pundits.
But Seaman believes Nwaneri has the ability and the character to deliver on his promise – as long as he’s handled with care like Ryan Giggs was at Manchester United.
The Arsenal legend is also well aware of the teenager’s talents, having spent time observing him during his training as the club’s academy coach.
“It’s great for us to make history, but you have to think long term,” said the legendary former goalkeeper. “If you’re good enough, you’re old enough.
“He has to be handled right off the field. He is a very good player, but you have to take care of him.
“It all depends on your level and that’s what determines whether you have the chance to play or not.
“I saw this guy in training when I was coming in and training with the Under-23s and Under-18s. You honestly wouldn’t believe his age.
When asked if he really was one of the best he’s seen, Seaman added: “He’s at that age. He looks like an experienced pro. Then you find out how old he is… 15.
“He is so good, but he still has to be managed well.
“Very similar to Ryan Giggs, he was handled perfectly by Fergie and look how good he turned out to be.
“It’s about making sure he gets the right treatment off the pitch. He will certainly have it on the training ground and in the matches he will be well cared for.
“He’s so good he can handle it all.”
Arteta was unafraid to play against Arsenal youngsters, with Bukayo Saka and Emile Smith Rowe providing perfect examples for Nwaneri to follow.
Seaman added: “It will help him tremendously. We see them now as experienced pros, they are still very young themselves.
“It’s a great example for him to look at them both as an example and how they’re treated, see what they do off the pitch.
“At the agent level and all those kinds of things come into play. Don’t stray from what you do on the training ground and what you do in games, that’s the most important of all.