Alex Iwobi is ‘a perfect Arsenal player’, says close friend Chuba Akpom, who hopes to join him in the Nigeria national team set-up soon.
Both players, friend since childhood, spent their time together rising through the ranks at the Gunners’ Hale End Academy Academy. Their senior career, however, charted different courses with Iwobi not looking back since breaking into the main set-up in 2015.
Akpom, on the other hand, had gone on seven different loan spells before finally moving away from the north London outfit to link up with Greek side PAOK in the summer.
Iwobi, also a cog member of the Super Eagles, has been one of Unai Emery's key men as they are currently on a 21-game unbeaten run across all competition. And he is considered a role model for youngsters who aim to break into the senior setting at the Emirates outfit; one Akpom states has always been the case since their time developing in the lower cadres.
“Alex is a very good player. The thing with Alex is that you need to know football to understand how good he is. Technically he’s unbelievable, his understanding of the game is unbelievable – one of the best I’ve seen anyway,” Akpom told Goal.
“I feel like you need to understand football to know this. He’s a perfect Arsenal player. When we were growing up playing football with each other the coach used to say look at the way Alex does this, look at the way Alex does that because he’s got Arsenal in his DNA.
“He’s a good guy – we’ve been close friends since nursery, primary school – he’s a humble guy and we still speak about his games and my games.
“It’s good to see him doing so well at Arsenal even though it didn’t work out for me, I’ve taken another path. I’ve always said I hope we can play against each other or play with each other on another occasion. Obviously he plays for Nigeria so hopefully, I can be called up for Nigeria and play with him. It’s just good to see two people that have grown up together doing their own things with their football careers.”
Now gradually making an impact in Greece [two goals in six league games], the 22-year-old - who was born in England and represented their youth set-ups - is eyeing a maiden call-up to join Gernot Rohr’s Super Eagles ahead of the 2019 African Cup of Nations.
“Yeah definitely, it’s just a matter of getting game time for my club, scoring a few goals and getting some good performances in.