Nigeria football has seen its own fair share of raw talents who have failed to live up to their hype. These young footballers start brightly and look like they have no limit, then all of a sudden, drop and never live up to the expectation of millions of football lovers. There are several factors that cause this drop, some of these factors are: indiscipline, health issues and age cheating, but in spite of these factors, there is still hope for the future of Nigerian football, and perhaps the next Jay-Jay Okocha or Kanu Nwankwo will emerge and serve the national team for years. Alex Iwobi is the latest new hope of Nigerian football. He is dubbed the new Jay-Jay Okocha -who is arguably one of the best talents to ever come out of Nigeria.
Alex Iwobi was born in Lagos, Nigeria on the 3rd of May 1996. He is 5-ft 11-in tall. Iwobi joined Arsenal at an early age, while he was still in primary school. He is a nephew to former Nigeria captain and superstar Austin Jay-Jay Okocha. Key to Iwobi committing to Nigeria was being convinced by his uncle (Jay -Jay), Nwankwo Kanu and his father on the pride and honour representing the country of your birth brings.
Alex Iwobi had played several forward roles, some of which are; Center Forward, Left Wing, Right Wing and Attacking Midfield coming through the ranks at Hale End before the coaches decided which was best for him.
Alex played for England at all age grade competitions, featuring for the 3 lions at the U16, U17, and U18 teams. He made his debut for the English U16 side in 2011, making 7 appearances and scoring just 1 goal. He further played for the English U17 side (making 3 appearances without scoring a goal) and the under 18 side (making 2 appearances without scoring a goal).
Alex Iwobi played for Arsenal’s U18 and U19 team in the 2013/2014 season. He scored a total of 8 goals in 35 matches. After impressing the club, he stepped up to the U21 side the following season (2014/2015) where he captained the side.
Alex Iwobi made his competitive debut for Arsenal FC on 27 October 2015, starting in a 3–0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the Round of 16 of the League Cup. He made his Premier League debut four days later, appearing as a substitute against Swansea City. He was also a member of the squad that traveled to Asia for a pre-season tour and scored a goal against Lyon in the Emirates cup.
He made his debut for the Super Eagles in the 2 -0 loss against Congo in Belgium, and also came on as a substitute in Nigeria’s win against Cameroun some days later.
What does the future hold?
Alex Iwobi has the age factor going for and being under the tutelage of Arsene Wenger who is one of the best managers at developing young players. Arsene Wenger has a track record of spotting and developing talents into world class stars.
Arsene Wenger has already praised the youngster for his attitude and movement. He also feels Iwobi’s strengths make it easy for him to fit into Arsenal’s style of play.
Written by Segun Olarinmoye