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Mikel Arteta has provided insight into his decision not to field Ethan Nwaneri, Lino Sousa, and Reuell Walters in Arsenal’s 1-1 draw with PSV Eindhoven, explaining that he felt it wasn’t the “right context” for the trio to make their Champions League debuts.

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Nwaneri, Sousa, and Walters were included in the squad for Arsenal’s final UEFA Champions League group stage game against PSV, which was essentially a dead-rubber match.

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Despite fans’ anticipation to see the teenagers in action in the Netherlands, Arteta chose not to play any of the three youngsters. Instead, he opted for substitutions that included Declan Rice, Martin Odegaard, Ben White, Gabriel Jesus, and a returning Emile Smith Rowe.

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Addressing the media after the 1-1 draw, Arteta discussed his decision regarding Nwaneri, Sousa, and Walters, stating, “I don’t think it was the right context, making eight changes already to throw them in there against a team that hasn’t lost here almost in two years; I didn’t think it was the right moment.”

He continued, “I went on to wait to see how the game developed, but it was too much for them, and as well, we had three little issues. We had to make the subs, and then we had no room because we really wanted to play a game as well.”

Nwaneri had previously made his Arsenal debut at the age of 15, becoming the youngest player for the Gunners last season. Walters and Sousa, both 18, are still awaiting their senior debuts but are expected to make their first appearances for Arsenal soon, given their integration into Arteta’s set-up.

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