Rave reviews continue trailing Arsenal kid, Alex Iwobi’s skilful ‘rainbow curve’ trick in the World Cup qualifier against Algeria at Godswill Akpabio International Stadium, Uyo. While Nigerians say Iwobi is replicating the skills of his uncle, former Super Eagles’ captain, Austin ‘Jay Jay’ Okocha, the British press say the youngster is simply the new ‘wonder boy’ at Emirates Stadium. This much is highlighted in this special feature on Iwobi by Daily Mail…
Alex Iwobi will be under no illusions: this is his time to shine. Few get their chance at the highest level, and even fewer at the tender age of 20.
In under a season, Iwobi has become a main-stay in Arsenal’s starting XI and proved himself worthy of being one of the first names on the Nigeria team-sheet.
From the bottom to the top in near-record time. The young winger only made his debut for Arsene Wenger just over a year ago, in a Capital One Cup defeat at Sheffield Wednesday.
Admittedly not the best result for his first appearance, but still worthy of a Premier League spot four days later. And a further four days later? Bayern Munich in the Champions League.
A prime example of his meteoric rise, and the trust placed in him by Arsene Wenger. Now, one year on, he is preparing to start against Manchester United in a game that could well define the path of Arsenal’s season.
Miraculous, really, for a player with nearly no experience. He may have expected a loan spell, treading the path that many before him have had to endure.
Make your mark in the Championship, prove yourself worthy of a cup place at the Emirates, work your way up. Sometimes it happens, sometimes it doesn’t.
But for Iwobi, training sessions at London Colney were enough to prove himself to Wenger. By the player’s own admission, every time he steps on the pitch he plays as though it’s his last game.
‘I treat it like it’s my last moment here, so I do my best and I always put 100 per cent into whatever I do,’ he told Arsenal TV this week.
The nephew of Bolton Wanderers legend Jay-Jay Okocha, his life as a professional footballer has been set out for him since he was young.
As a child, he will have watched his uncle line up for Fenerbahce, Paris Saint-Germain, Bolton, Qatar SC and latterly Hull City, setting the game alight with incredible skill to dazzle supporters. And now Iwobi has his chance to do the same.
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain may feel aggrieved to be out of the team at the moment, but who can blame Wenger?
You can’t drop a near-unplayable Ozil through the centre, you can’t drop a much-improved Theo Walcott on the right, and you certainly can’t drop the in-form Iwobi down the left.
This week saw the Nigerian head off on international duty for a World Cup qualifier against Algeria. It is something to be admired, choosing to represent the country of his birth over England, where he has lived since the age of four.
However, bold is what Arsenal fans love about him. The audacity to trick an opponent, the ability to spray a pass cross-field… and now, all they want is goals.
He has the rest of the package. His passing, dribbling and shooting has earned him praise around the world, from team-mates and opponents alike. But goals are still missing from his game.
Yet to score this season, and without a goal since April. 15 games and counting. But don’t write him off. With Manchester United next up, there is no better time than to net at Old Trafford.