Head youth coach Andries Jonker has heaped praise on young forward Alex Iwobi, claiming the teen star is the perfect player to train and has been nowhere near the youth setup ever since he featured for the senior side against Bayern Munich.
The Dutchman spoke very highly of the 19-year-old, highlighting his dedication, motivation, and willingness to learn. His stellar work ethic combined with his superb physical attributes have seen him slingshotted into the first team, and he’s doing his best to stay there.
“Every now and then we have had players who have attracted attention but I think the one who has succeeded most is Alex Iwobi, who is with the first team now,” Jonkers told Arsenal Player.
“He played at home against Bayern Munich, made two very nice goals and was great for the team. Since then we haven’t seen him because he’s with the first-team and that’s what it’s all about.
“Alex is incredibly motivated, dedicated, willing to work and open to listening. He is always trying to improve himself. That makes him a perfect player because, with the talent he has already, he can continue to develop. That’s what’s happening at the moment.”
Iwobi has made a number of appearances so far this season, in the Champions League, Capital One Cup, FA Cup, and even the Premier League. He’s yet to make a start in the Premier League, but given the level of his performances it might not be too long before that changes.
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He’s energetic, a constant threat, and has settled into his first team role superbly. He played a part in both goals in our FA Cup win over Burnley recently, and has shown no signs of slowing down so far.
Alexis Sanchez is currently the only wide player who can feel confident about his place in the team, with Theo Walcott, Joel Campbell, and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain all featuring sporadically this season. This will give Iwobi a real confidence boost, and shows that a first team spot isn’t out of the question.
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We haven’t seen as many of our youth academy stars progress into the first team as we’d like in recent years, with Hector Bellerin and Jack Wilshere the only two of note – you could count Francis Coquelin among them, although his rise to the first team was a little more unorthodox.
Iwobi certainly looks capable of bucking the trend though, and will hopefully become a regular in the team eventually.