This weekend saw another Arsenal starlet enter the spotlight, bagging his first Premier League start and goal. Alex Iwobi helped Arsenal overcome Everton by two goals to nil at Goodison Park in the early kick-off on Saturday, earning himself the man of the match award.
Arsenal, renowned for producing talented young players, have themselves another. 19 year old Alex Iwobi, born in Lagos, Nigeria, signed for Arsenal when he was just 7 years old. Iwobi has grown up at Arsenal’s esteemed youth academy, Hale End, and came through the system at the same time as close friend Chuba Akpom. He has had a good run in the first team this season, making 14 appearances for Arsene Wenger’s side, including a start against Barcelona in the Gunners’ second leg defeat in Cataluña. With his impressive performances thus far, Iwobi seems to be following in the footsteps of another Hale End graduate, Hector Bellerin, by claiming a regular place in Arsenal’s starting XI. The Nigerian has received a lot of attention following his recent progress in Arsenal’s senior team, notably from Thierry Henry. The Arsenal legend and all-time top goal scorer took to Twitter to say, ‘Hard work pays off. Well done @alexiwobi you deserve it. #COYG’.
Iwobi proudly represents Nigeria at national level, just like his Uncle Jay-Jay Okocha did, although the FA have tried to persuade the youngster to represent the Three Lions. However whilst he played for England at under 16, 17 & 18 level, that was not enough to keep him from playing for his country of birth. Iwobi certainly shows the sheer skill, power and flair that his Uncle had when playing. Arsenal fans were used to seeing the scary sight of Jay-Jay Okocha when he played for the Gunners’ one time ‘bogey team’, Bolton Wanderers. Thankfully they’ll be seeing those traits in the colour of Red and White, hopefully for many more years, as the future is certainly bright for Alex Iwobi.