Wenger: “Clever” Iwobi Should Play For England, Not Nigeria

Wenger: “Clever” Iwobi Should Play For England, Not Nigeria

By Izuchukwu Okosi:

Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi should be playing for England’s Three Lions and not the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has said.


Iwobi was in action for Arsenal on Saturday in their FA Cup fourth round tie against Burnley and Wenger was impressed with the 19-year-old’s performance and believes he is a talent that got away from England’s grasps.

Iwobi pledged his future to Nigeria and has been capped twice by Super Eagles coach Sunday Oliseh after representing England at U-16, U-17 and U-18 levels.


“I think he’s one England have missed because he plays for Nigeria now,” Wenger told the Guardian. “He should play for England. I don’t think he has played in a competitive game for Nigeria.”

Wenger then revealed he deliberately stopped Iwobi from representing Nigeria last year at the U-23 level.

He added: “I remember I turned him down for an U-23 tournament. But then Nigeria called him up for the first team to force him to go.

“I think he has shown everybody that he is a good football player, again. I find him personally very interesting.”

Wenger went on to praise the youngster, who was brilliant against Burnley on Saturday.

It was Iwobi’s third start and eighth appearance for the club – all of them this season – and Wenger gave a glowing assessment of his game.

“His decision-making is spot on and his awareness is very interesting,” Wenger added. “He’s a boy who, two years ago, not many would have said: ‘This will be.’ He develops very well. He’s very clever. I like the timing and the quality of his decision-making. He always turns where you want him to turn and he plays the ball where you want him to play the ball. He’s very interesting.”

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  • I hope this statement of Arsene Wenger will not make Nigerian football fans including Arsenal fans annoyed as I am at the moment boiling with annoyance. No, I believe Arsene Wenger meant to say France, not England. I wish Jose Mourinho will comment on this yeye statement of Wenger. Make he give am small mouth. Why was he not invited by England when he was struggling. Nigeria valued him then and invited him. Maybe because he not English that was why he wasn’t invited. What of all the other Nigerians invited by England and destroyed. They are many. England is only interested in making these players unavailable to Nigeria and after one match are dumped. Europe, The Americans, Asians are wise to the England tricks but not Africa. Wenger should be careful with his talks. Better to keep quiet than saying vexing statements.

  • Clueless Wenger!

    However I think the super Eagles deserves a decent foreign coach. Enough of all these average half baked  Nigeria coaches who always fail. I dont know where all these campaign against foreign coaches will get us. You will clearly see that the team lacks something that the current coaches cannot resolve. Since we now have a crop of decent players we should get a crop of decent foreign coaches. NOt just any foreign coach but those who really want to do well with the team. I dont see us qualifying for the next nations cup or world cup. The game has moved and were are failing to realise that.

  • habib bello 6 years ago

    Am disappointed in Wenger. Am a strong supporter of Arsenal,but not happy with Wengers’ comment. That means he never wish Nigeria good. His statement is unfortunate. I begin to dislike him and his team.