Alex Iwobi has confessed that since Unai Emery took charge of Arsenal he has become a sharper and better player than he was under Arsene Wenger.
Emery was handed the post vacated by Wenger in the summer, with the Frenchman stepping down after nearly 22 years in charge.
While the former Paris Saint-Germain and Sevilla coach has yet to get off the mark in terms of Premier League points – the Gunners have lost to both Manchester City and Chelsea – Iwobi believes he has already improved.
“It’s benefiting me a lot more,” he said when discussing the coach’s methods to Arsenal Player. “It’s making me feel a bit sharper, I’m doing things with a bit more intensity. It’s not just for me, though, I feel like I’m helping the team a lot more.”
Iwobi joined the club aged nine and now at 22 he had not known any other coach to lead the Gunners other than Wenger until the summer.
“It’s exciting times to be fair,” he said of Emery’s arrival. “Everybody’s enjoying and buying into the new ideas. For me personally, I’m enjoying the new sessions, the new training methods and the new ideas, so I’m enjoying my time with him.
“He demands a lot. He’s a lot more intense, a lot of high pressing and keeping the ball so that it benefits us if we have the ball. It’s good for us, especially the attackers who like to have the ball a lot.”
Last season, the Nigeria international made 39 appearances for the club across five different competitions and is hopeful that he can enjoy even more pitch time under the Spaniard. He accepts, however, that will require hard work.
“Whenever something in the system changes, you have to prove yourself again,” he said. “But wherever you go, you have to prove that you’re better than whoever else is on the team. At a team like Arsenal, that’s always going to be hard, so I always have to be on it in training and matches.
“I’ve got to be different. It’s going to be hard because we’ve got so many attackers and so many world-class players, so I’ve just got to prove that I’m on that level or as good as them so that I can be ahead of them, which is my aim.”
Before the September international break, Arsenal host West Ham then travel to Cardiff City, fixtures Iwobi will be doing his utmost to make a mark in.