INTRODUCTION Alex Iwobi is a popular Nigerian professional footballer who plays as a winger and a striker for Premier League club Arsenal and the Nigeria national team.
EARLY LIFE AND BACKGROUND Iwobi was born in Lagos before moving to England at the age of four. He is the nephew of ex-professional footballer Jay-Jay Okocha.
Iwobi, who has represented England at under-16, 17 and 18 level, impressed for the Super Eagles after coming off the bench in a 2-0 defeat to the Democratic Republic of Congo in a friendly in Vise, Belgium.
ALEX TALKED ABOUT HIS EARLY DAYS IN THE INTERVIEW BELOW: “It was an honour to represent my country, I was just buzzing to get on for the last half hour and I was excited,” Iwobi told BBC Sport.
My target is to get as many call-ups as I can, get as many games as I can and win many trophies with Nigeria
Alex IwobiNigeria and Arsenal midfielder
“I got a few touches and I was excited, even though we lost it felt like I won but I enjoyed the moment.” The 19-year-old is looking to follow in the footsteps of his uncle and former Nigeria captain Austin Jay-Jay Okocha. “He’s a legend in African football and I know I’ll have to work hard so people can speak positively about me as well,” he said. “Having him as an uncle helps for inspiration but he didn’t achieve his status by being someone’s nephew – so I must earn my path. “My target is to get as many call-ups as I can, get as many games as I can and win many trophies with Nigeria.” After the game against DR Congo on Thursday, Nigeria coach Sunday Oliseh praised what he called a “very confident performance” from Iwobi and admitted that the youngster has caught the eye with his performances so far on the tour of Belgium. “It makes me feel welcome, I’m confident, motivated, I want to play in the next match – hopefully against Cameroon,” Iwobi noted. “It’s been a crazy week for me [after signing a new long-term deal with Arsenal] I’m just enjoying the moment, hope it continues but I am going to enjoy it as it comes.” The Lagos-born youngster has set his sights on breaking into Arsene Wenger’s first team squad after penning a new deal with Arsenal even though he is yet to make a competitive senior appearance in any competition. He impressed for the Gunners during the pre-season, particularly when he was handed a chance to start against Lyon in the Emirates Cup. “I just want to play for the first team as soon as I can and show the world what I’m able to do,” the Arsenal under-21 captain added. “I have gone through a lot with Arsenal so it will be a dream come true to get a chance.”
CAREER AND LIFE
Iwobi joined Arsenal while still at primary school, and was first involved in a first-team match as an unused substitute in a League Cup match against West Bromwich Albion on 25 September 2013. He signed a new long-term contract with Arsenal in October 2015.
On 27 October 2015, Iwobi made his first-team debut for the club, 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 in a 3–0 win against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, as a stoppage time substitute for Mesut Özil. Iwobi made his Champions League debut as an 85th-minute substitute in a 5–1 defeat against Bayern Munich. Iwobi started in the first team for the 2015–16 FA Cup 3rd and 4th round home wins against Sunderland and Burnley respectively.
After getting a first Champions League start in a 3–1 away defeat to Barcelona, Iwobi went on to score two goals in his first two Premier League starts in wins against Everton, and Watford, respectively.
Iwobi changed squad number from 45 to 17, upon hearing that Alexis Sánchez will take up the newly vacated number 7 from the departing Tomáš Rosický. International career
After playing youth football for England, Iwobi elected to play for Nigeria and made his senior debut on 8 October 2015, replacing Ahmed Musa in the 57th minute of a 2–0 friendly defeat to DR Congo in Visé, Belgium. He was selected by Nigeria for their 35-man provisional squad for the 2016 Summer Olympics.
Alex and Okocha
AWARDS AND ENDORSEMENTS No popular awards or endorsement yet.