Nwaneri came on for Fabio Vieira in the 90th minute as Mikel Arteta’s men cruised to a 3-0 win at Brentford Community Stadium. Vieira had scored a superb goal in his first start for the club, while William Saliba and Gabriel Jesus also scored as Arsenal returned to the top of the table.
At 15 years, five months and 23 days, Nwaneri broke the record previously held by Liverpool’s Harvey Elliott (16 years, 30 days). With this, the midfielder became the youngest senior player in Arsenal history, beating Cesc Fábregas’ record (16 years, 5 months and 24 days).
Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta said: “It’s another step, another experience. In your career all the steps are not going to be forward. After that he may need three back to go one forward, but I think he deserved it. It also sends a very strong message about who we are as a club.
“I told him yesterday that he was going to be with us and that I want him to experience what it is like to be in the hotel, to do some preparation for the match to be with the boys and that he had to be prepared. If you are going to be on that bench you have to be prepared. The guy just looks you in the eye and is ready.
“All the decisions we make and that I make are for the club. It’s not because of me, it’s not because of the player, it’s because we believe that he has a talent that has to be developed incredibly in the next two or three years. We’ll see how we achieve that, but the boy will dictate. Normally it’s not us, normally the players tell you and demand how far you can go with that”.
Nwaneri’s appearance marks the latest step in a promising career at Arsenal, where he broke through in the club’s under-21 setup and also represented England at under-16 level. The youngster had not been born when Arsenal’s Emirates Stadium opened in 2006.