Alex Iwobi might be 20 years but that counts for nothing for those familiar with a certain Arsene Wenger who has groomed much younger and unknown players to world stars like Cesc Fabregas, Laurent Koscielny , Ashley Cole and Patrick Vieira.
It is not only exciting but shocking that the youngster who has become a regular starter in the Gunners starting line-up had his breakthrough season last season having played 13 games scoring two goals and providing two assists in all competitions.
At a time most of his age mates are seeking loan moves away from big clubs to smaller clubs for regular football, Iwobi is not only the toast of the North London club but also his country with whom he produced a top notch performance on Saturday in the World Cup Qualifiers against Algeria having pulled off a rainbow flick in the game as the Super Eagles beat the Desert Foxes 3-1.
“I didn’t see it coming but I wasn’t surprised he (Iwobi) did It. When I met Wenger last month, we talked about Iwobi and he told me there’s more to his game than what we are seeing at the moment .”
” He (Iwobi) is a confident lad. He is not afraid to try new tricks in training and games. He can only get better, his best is yet to come,” were the words of Nigerian coach Gernot Rohr after the game with Algeria.
At present , the winger/forward has one goal in seven games for the Super Eagles after swapping England for his country of origin last year even though he played in the youth level for England. Such has been Iwobi’s talent that Wenger felt it was right to sell Serge Gnabry to Werder Bremen in the summer at the same time play a more established Alex Oxlade Chamberlain from the bench.
This season, the Nigerian has one goal to his name having provided a further three assists in nine games in the league. Playing on the right side of a 4-2-3-1 formation with Mesut Ozil, Theo Walcott and Alexis Sanchez completing the attacking unit, the Nigerian’s ability to play through balls, perfect passing and hold on to the ball to allow his team mates time to exploit spaces has made him one of the stars of the North London club who are presently fourth in the table two points behind leaders Liverpool.
Just like other players who have certain weaknesses, the Nigerian is no exception as his conversion rate is below average considering the calibre of his club and position in the field coupled with his poor defensive contribution and poor crossing.
At 20, Iwobi clearly is still developing and must continue to strive to become better having made it obvious he is a class act at his tender age.