Iwobi: I didn’t expect to be where I am

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Alex Iwobi says he approaches each Arsenal first team appearance like it could be his last as he looks to earn the trust and respect of his manager and teammates.

A graduate of Arsenal’s Hale End Academy, the 20-year-old burst onto the scene in October last year and has since become a regular fixture in Arsene Wenger’s starting lineup.

Reflecting on his rapid rise to prominence, which has seen him earn a new contract and play for his country, Iwobi also admitted that he’s exceeded even his own expectations.

“Honestly I didn’t expect to be where I am today,” Iwobi told Arsenal Player.

“I thought a long time ago that I’d be on loan and probably get experience there before having experience in the first team, but the fact that the boss trusted me to jump into the first team as quick as I did, I’m just grateful for it.

“The same way I was able to break into it is the same way that I take the chance now.

“I play like it’s almost like my last game, I treat it like it’s my last moment here, so I do my best and I always put 100 per cent into whatever I do.”

Recognising that life as a top footballer can be precarious, Iwobi also touched on how he tries to maintain his focus in a dog-eat-dog world.

“If you don’t do as well as you think you could’ve done, there’s other players, other international, great players, that can just step in,” he added.

“So you just have to take the chance all the time and do your best when the time comes.

“The big thing is you need to stay fit and always need to give it your all. I mean, you’ve got to have the right attitude, you’ve got to be mentally prepared for whatever happens.

“Not everything is going to be smooth sailing for you so you’ve got to be prepared for all conditions.”

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Pedant

Having Jay-Jay’s advice is invaluable. Great attitude Alex has.

VT

His humility is very rare in modern-day football, as many says you need to be arrogantly confident to play (that “Winning mentality” and the “fighting spirit”), yet I still find it hard to dislike Iwobi’s attitude.

He’s down-to-earth, appreciating everything around him, and yet giving his all for the team in matches. He makes me believe in our youth academy again!

It Is What It Is

It all starts with gratitude. In its absence, it is easy to take things for granted, leading to an entitled and complacent attitude. Appreciating what you have or don’t have, makes you recognise the people and situations that have positively influenced you. This breeds humility, which makes it more likely for people to help you. As a coach, I’d rather focus on the player who works hard, picks up cones, and doesn’t think he’s seen it all, than a Nasri, Adebayor or TGSTEL. Contrast with Kos, Mikel ‘Lego’ Arteta and Santi. Picked from varying footballing levels and showed positive attitude… Read more »

Canador

He is a good lad. He will have a good career in Arsenal. I am glad he is taking every game as his last. That is a very good mindset to have. Good luck!

shokim

I love Iwobi’s down to earth attitude and humility. He can only get better with time. #COYG

Pooner

I really hope he can develop his technique and calm in front of goal. With the attitude displayed here I think he’ll do it too!

Ross

Good attitude and comes across a good natured lad. Think he could do with a few weeks out the team though, let him recouperate and work on his game again then come back firing. Has posted a lot of games in 2016 for such a young lad.

BODMAS

I JUST WATCHED THAT KANU GOAL AGAINST DEPOTIVO,IT WAS OUTRAGEOUS,OUT OF THIS WORLD… I CAN’T STOP WATCHING THE GAME. I JUST LOVE KANU MORE

PeteyB

Cracking goal indeed, but no need to shout. ?

Alphie

When I look at iwobi I see the basics that he does exemplary well which is the foundation of our playing style. I believe arsenal has seen extremely talented individuals fail to make the grade due to arrogance like J. E. T(had big hopes for the fella ) or Merida for IMPATIENCE or the dench FOR LACK OF FOCUS. The list goes on… In short I’m happy we have an arsenal academy graduate playing in the first team who Wenger believes can be better. Hope we are looking at him being the first African to debut for arsenal and retire… Read more »

Eternal Titi Berg Pat Nostalgia

Iwobi needs to add goals to his game. He has everything else.