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Last Updated: Friday, 27 August, 2004, 05:40 GMT 06:40 UK
Fabregas the fabulous
By Ian Hughes

Cesc Fabregas
Move over Wayne Rooney - there's a new kid on the block and he is being hailed as "one of the best young players there has ever been".

Arsenal's Spanish teenager Cesc Fabregas has been sensational in the opening games of the season.

Especially when you consider that most 17-year-olds would be polishing rather than filling Patrick Vieira's boots.

And his performances of composure and maturity beyond his years have left legendary Gunners goalkeeper Bob Wilson drooling.

So much so that Wilson, who won the Double with Arsenal in 1971, believes the prodigy has made more of an impact at Highbury than his older compatriot Jose Antonio Reyes.

Wilson told BBC Sport: "The player who has created so much excitement and generated so much interest, even more so than Reyes, is the young boy Fabregas.

"He is another diamond that Arsene Wenger has unearthed.

"From everything I've seen and everything I've heard about him, it is clear that Fabregas is going to be an absolutely massive, massive star player.

"I think Fabregas is one of the best young players there has ever been."

Fabregas' football is a joy to watch
Arsene Wenger

Fabregas has starred in Arsenal's 100% start to the new season, helping the team set a new league record of 43 matches unbeaten.

And Gunners coach Wenger admits even he has been surprised by the way Fabregas has coped with the demands placed on him.

Wenger said: "He has been up against Thomas Gravesen, Ray Parlour and Tugay - three men. And in every game, he has done very well. That is something amazing."

Fabregas joined Arsenal from Barcelona in September last year, after Wenger had "watched him nearly every weekend in the youth team".

Soon after, Fabregas became the youngest player to play for Arsenal at just 16 years 177 days old when he started the Carling Cup tie against Rotherham at Highbury.

He then became the youngest Arsenal goalscorer 35 days later in the 5-1 win against Wolves in the next round.

Arsene Wenger
Wenger has a fantastic knack of finding new talent

On Wednesday, Fabregas made it a hat-trick of records by becoming Arsenal's youngest ever goalscorer in league football, notching the Gunners' second in the 3-0 win over Blackburn.

And with the teenage sensation continuing to take everything in his stride, Wenger thinks he may now even be ready for a full international cap.

"It is not stupid to think that he could be called up for the Spain first team," Wenger said.

"They have a lot of midfielders in Spain at the moment but they should not be scared to take him.

"He has been consistent, his work-rate and commitment are outstanding, and his football is a joy to watch."

Those who were watching at Highbury on Wednesday were in awe of a precocious talent.

When Fabregas left the field five minutes before full time, it was to a standing ovation.

It won't be the last time.

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