Declan Rice sends 11-word message after Arsenal confirm deal for youngster

Highly-rated Arsenal player Ethan Nwaneri has put pen-to-paper on his first professional contract – and England international Declan Rice is among the first to congratulate him.

Ethan Nwaneri has signed his first professional contract with Arsenal

Declan Rice has shared a heart-warming message with Arsenal prospect Ethan Nwaneri after the highly-rated teenager signed his first professional contract with the club. Nwaneri is the youngest player in Premier League history after making his debut – aged 15 and 181 days – against Brentford last season.

The attacking midfielder turned 17 last week and, at that point, became eligible for scholarship forms. There had been a battle for his signature with Chelsea, Liverpool and Manchester City among those interested, but he will instead continue his development at the Emirates Stadium and beyond.

Nwaneri has two senior appearances to his name already and his promise has been underlined this season with fantastic performances for the academy team. He has totted-up 14 goals in as many games so far this campaign.

He has also represented England U17s. After committing his future to Arsenal, the Islington-born youngster, who has been with The Gunners since he was eight, posted the news on his Instagram profile and it was not too long before England international Rice popped up in the comments section.

Nwaneri uploaded three pictures from his contract signing, featuring a single red love heart emoji.

Rice, 25, replied: “You deserve it Eth! Some player and an even better person.” Rice added a red love heart emoji, while Nwaneri was inundated with thousands of likes and other comments on the post.

After the talented youngster put pen-to-paper, Arsenal academy manager Per Mertesacker said: “We are extremely proud of Ethan and his journey from pre-academy to Hale End, then a seamless transition to Sobha Realty Training Centre and then making his first-team debut.

He added: “Ethan’s journey now continues. We will be there alongside him to support his development.”

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