Mikel Arteta claims Arsenal’s Champions League draw with PSV was ‘too much’ for Ethan Nwaneri and the rest of the academy graduates who were left on the bench.

Eddie Nketiah opened the scoring with an excellent finish shortly before half time but PSV equalised through Yorbe Vertessen in the 50th minute.

Nwaneri, meanwhile, was named on the bench for Arsenal’s trip to Eindhoven and the 16-year-old would have overtaken Jack Wilshere to become the club’s youngest player to ever play in a European competition.

However, the midfielder was an unused substitute alongside Lino Sousa and Reuell Walters.

When asked why Nwaneri and the rest of Arsenal’s academy players did not feature against PSV.

Arteta said: ‘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 and I went on to wait to see how the game developed, but it was too much for them and as well we have 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.’

Arteta added ‘What I’ve seen is that we can compete at this level and we came top of the group which is very important.’

‘Especially the way we did it with a game in hand. We have to win game by game and we arrive again in February.’

Asked on his thoughts about Arsenal’s return to the Champions League this season, Arteta said: ‘How long do we have? I think overall very, very positives, after six or seven years without being in the competition with a team that doesn’t have a lot of experience there I think we have competed very very well.

‘I really like the approach of the team in every single game, the way we try to play and dominated the opponents, we have some big results and big experiences as well.

‘Like what we had in Seville, or in Lens and even today, when we make that many changes as well, how the team can act, or how fair it is for certain players to give that exposure, overall finishing first with a game to play we have to be really happy, close that chapter, leave it until February and make sure in February when that chapter opens up against we are in the best possible place to compete against another top side.’