Wenger Praises Iwobi Again, Expects More Special Youngsters

Wenger Praises Iwobi Again, Expects More Special Youngsters

By Izuchukwu Okosi

Following the emergence of new Super Eagles star, Alex Iwobi, Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has hinted that more academy players at the club will follow the path of Super Eagles midfielder Alex Iwobi to the Gunners' first team, Completesportsnigeria.com reports.

Iwobi, 19, has been in good form, scoring in the wins against Everton before the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Egypt in March and Watford on Saturday.

The teenager joins the likes of Hector Bellerin, Francis Coquelin, Jack Wilshere and Kieran Gibbs in coming through the Arsenal youth ranks, having joined the academy aged eight.

Wenger, who has a long history of bringing young players into the first team at Arsenal, says more impressive youngsters from the youth ranks are on the way.

"We have a few players. Behind the first team, there is a core of six or seven players- I do not name them all now — who are really a guarantee for the future of Arsenal Football Club," the Frenchman told the Arsenal Weekly Podcast.

The youngsters coming through at the club include Jeff Reine-Adelaide and winger Chris Willock, who are both training regularly with the first team.

Arsenal also have several promising youngsters out on loan, including midfielders Gedion Zelalem, Jon Toral and Dan Crowley.

Alex Iwobi has scored in his first two Premier League starts for Arsenal.

"You asses his individual performances in training compared to the players who have a regular part in the Premier League.

"Once you see that he can match that, you question yourself (if he is ready). And if a player manages consistently to make you wonder, 'Oh he might be ready now,' then at some stage you find a moment to put him in.

"It's fantastic. It's one of the basic values at our club and I'm very proud of defending that.

"Alex Iwobi came here at the age of eight years old. That means the club has a meaning for them. That means for the next 10 years, if he makes it, we will have players who really carry the values of the club through the generations. That for me is vital," Wenger stated.

Wenger has always stressed that the gain of Nigeria is England's loss following the decision of the Nigerian to represent the country of his birth rather than England where he grew up and honed his football skills.