Alex Iwobi must be on cloud nine right now. Not only did he just face one of the greatest footballers to ever live in Lionel Messi in mid week, he then netted a fantastic debut goal for the club in his first Premier League start. At the tender age of 19, he’s just a spring chicken.
Arsene Wenger has been particularly impressed with the youngsters development over the course of the season, and it is for that reason alone that he’s burst onto the scene and jumped ahead of Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell in the pecking order.
Fielded alongside big names such as Danny Welbeck, Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil in Arsenal’s attack, Iwobi didn’t look out of depth despite his relative inexperience. Wenger puts that down to the players passion to succeed and love of the game.
“He is an intelligent boy who is passionate about the game and wants to learn,” Wenger said in the aftermath of the 2-0 victory over Everton (via Arsenal.com). “He is very humble as well. He is 19 years old. He has been at the club since the age of eight.”
The Gunners boss admitted he has followed the youngsters progress throughout the season and has caught the eye in training. His quick progress has seen him come from the fringes of the first team squad to back to back starts in what has been a whirlwind week for the Nigerian.
“I was looking at him in training during the season and in pre-season and I liked what he did. After that, he improved very quickly with the first team,” Wenger said. “Month after month, he developed very well and that is why I integrated him and played him.”
Despite his meteoric rise to fame with his excellent outings against Barcelona and Everton, the youngster still has much to learn in a bid to cement his first team place. His rawness was on show as much as his immense potential yesterday, his decision making will improve over time and with more games under his belt. But the signs are positive that Arsenal have another gem on their hands.