Arsenal coach Unai Emery has explained why Nigerian winger Bukayo Saka and other Hale End Academy graduates have been named on the roster for Thursday evening’s Europa League clash against Vorskla Poltava.
Saka is among seven players in the Arsenal squad on the brink of making their first team debut for the Gunners in today’s match.
Born September 5, 2001 in London, Saka will become the youngest player of Nigerian descent to debut for Arsenal if he features against Vorskla Poltava, aged 17 years, 2 months, 24 days.
The current youngest Nigerian to play for Arsenal is former Super Eagles invitee Chuba Akpom who was aged 17 years, 11 months, 5 days when he made his competitive debut in a 3-1 win vs Sunderland on September 14, 2013.
Second on the list of youngest debutants is one-time Nigeria Football Federation target Chuks Aneke who first played for Arsenal’s first team aged 18 years, 2 months, 17 days.
”The Europa League is very important for us and it’s very important for us to win tomorrow and come first in this group. The young players are going to have chances,” Emery was quoted as saying by arsenal.com.
”Then you know that some players like Eddie Nketiah, like Willock, like Emile Smith Rowe, have played.
”Then other younger players are coming through with us like Bukayo, Dominic, Zech and Charlie.
”For us, it’s not different because they are working with us every day. ”
Saka was promoted to Arsenal’s U23 team at the start of the 2018-19 campaign after Reiss Nelson was loaned out to Bundesliga outfit Hoffenheim in the summer transfer window.