Arsene Wenger insists that England are to blame for missing out on Alex Iwobi, and the Arsenal youngster is now impressing for Nigeria instead.
The 21 year-old broke into Arsene Wenger’s first-team squad in 2015, and is growing into a well-rounded midfield talent.
Iwobi recently scored the winning goal to send his country to next summer’s World Cup, and expressed his elation in helping Nigeria achieve the feat.
“When I actually scored the moment was crazy, I remember running off celebrating,” Iwobi said. “I almost cried, I actually almost cried to see how the fans were reacting, to see my mum and dad in the stands, it was just an amazing feeling.
“It’s always an honour to wear the green, white and green, I mean I’ve seen so many kids on the street when we’re in the bus, they’re screaming “go Nigeria, go Nigeria”, so to represent them I’m just proud.”
Prior to playing for the Super Eagles, the Gunners youth product had been playing for England at youth levels, making 11 outings for the Lions spread across the England U16, U17 and U18 sides.
He could well have been in contention to play in next summer’s World Cup for Gareth Southgate’s side, but Wenger claims that the FA didn’t do enough to convince Iwobi to further his allegiance with England.
“He had the potential to play for England and for Nigeria,” Wenger said. “Today he looks very happy with Nigeria. When I speak to him, he’s had very positive experiences. Iwobi: City result might ‘have been different’ if Lacazette started
“He brings his quality to Nigeria – he’s absolutely a creative player going forward. He’s very strong in small spaces and he’s starting to score goals as well.
“For a while it was open between England and Nigeria, and England didn’t really push for Alex during that period. Nigeria were more willing to have him. I’ve seen many times that sons of parents from Nigeria want to go back to their parents’ country.”
Would Iwobi have been a huge boost to England next summer?