By Felix Law.
After his early season promising form for Arsenal, youngster and Nigerian international Alex Iwobi has been tipped to flourish later on in his career in the centre of the pitch as a No.10 by Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger.
This is coming after the Arsenal academy graduate performed admirably in that role in the League Cup win at home against Championship side Reading on Tuesday night. Iwobi has been a regular starter for the North London club playing in the right side of attack for the Gunners with Mesut Ozil playing slightly behind Chilean and forward Alexis Sanchez while Theo Walcott has been left out on the left-wing.
“You see, he (Iwobi) is not typical winger and I think he can play in that role. He turns the game forward, he passes the ball through the lines very well. He has a final ball in him.”
“He is now a little bit, I think he has it all in the locker to pass and give the final ball.”
“What you want from him now is the finishing you know. That’s still a little part that is missing in his game. I think he is too nervous at the moment when he has the possibility to finish”, Wenger said to the Arsenal’s website at the end of the Gunners fourth round League Cup against Reading on Tuesday night.
Iwobi’s breakthrough season was last season after he impressed when given the chance in the first team which led to his playing on 21 occasions in all competitions scoring two goals as Arsenal missed out on the chance to win their first league title in 12 years allowing Claudio Ranieri’s Leicester City to have a Fairytale season as they ended the season as Champions despite written off as relegation strugglers before the beginning of the season.
This season, Iwobi has played 11 games in all competitions for Arsenal without a goal but with three assists which is the highest in Arsenal and third highest In the league so far as Arsenal are currently on 20 points making them joint leaders with Manchester City although with an inferior goal difference.
Against Reading, the Nigerian international who scored in his country’s 2-1 win away in Zambia in the 2018 World Cup qualifiers some weeks ago started out in the centre of midfield as the No.10 dictating the tempo and pace of the game in essence becoming his team’s creative hub despite the fact Alex Oxlade Chamberlain scored two goals in each half to win the game for the Gunners. Also on the night , Wenger played the likes of Lucas Perez (£17 million signing from Deportivo La Coruna) together with youngsters Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Jeff Reine Adelaide who was making his first start of the season.
While replacing Ozil as the No. 10 looks like a task too big for the 22-year-old, it should be noted that this is not something impossible as the German is currently 28 and in his peak, hence considering the quick development of the Nigerian this will be possible in the next four-five years time provided Iwobi continues to develop and becomes more clinical in front of goal as he has struggled with the pressures of finishing