'I never thought I'd make it this far' - Arsenal's Iwobi excited by Europa League final

Alex Iwobi - Bournemouth vs. Arsenal
Getty Images
The winger has come up through the youth ranks with the Gunners, and is now hoping to star in their first European final in 13 years

Alex Iwobi is excited by the opportunity to play for Arsenal against Chelsea in the Europa League final as the Gunners battle to secure a spot in next season’s Champions League in Baku next week.

The north London side haven’t made an appearance in a European final since 2006, when Arsene Wenger’s team, which included the likes of Thierry Henry and Robert Pires, fell short against Barcelona, losing 2-1.

Iwobi has been a regular for Arsenal this season with 50 appearances, 10 of which have come in the Europa League, and the winger is eager to be involved for Unai Emery’s side when they take on Chelsea on May 29. 

The 23-year-old told Sky Sports : "To be here and have an opportunity to play in such a big final is great.

"I've had many dreams of winning things for Arsenal at a young age. I never thought I'd make it this far.

"Every trophy to us is special, we always want to do our best and win as many as we can, and the Europa League final is another one we can win."

Iwobi is a product of Arsenal’s academy system and, since breaking into the senior side in the 2015-2016 season, he has lifted an FA Cup and two Community Shields for his boyhood club. 

The Nigeria international believes that having academy graduates like Joe Willock and Ainsley Maitland-Niles in the side will be inspiring for youngsters coming through the youth system at the club, saying: "It's great, not just for me but also to show youth in the Arsenal academy that they have a chance to play at this level.

Article continues below

"So for players like Joe Willock, there are a lot of opportunities and, if you keep on believing, you can make it or even do better than me."

Arsenal and Chelsea’s two previous meetings this season have been lively affairs, with their match in August being hotly contested as the Blues won 3-2 at Stamford Bridge, while the Gunners won the reverse fixture 2-0.

If the Gunners were to win the final, it would be their first European trophy since lifting the European Cup Winners’ Cup in 1994, while Chelsea are looking to win the Europa League for the second time after winning it in 2013.