Watching on from the stands all season, Jack Wilshere has had the opportunity to assess everything about the team and Alex Iwobi has caught his eye.
The Nigerian turned 20 on Tuesday off the back of eight consecutive starts for the Gunners and Wilshere, now back after an injury suffered in August, has been impressed.
“I really like him as a player,” said the Arsenal and England midfielder. “I watched him in the FA Youth Cup last year and you could always tell there was something special about him.
“He used to train with us quite a lot. He was young, so he never really got a look in when he came over, but you could tell he had something special and he has really matured.”
Like Wilshere, Iwobi has come all the way through the Arsenal youth system and looked way ahead of his years in the first team.
“If you ask anyone, it looks like he has been in the team for a number of years. He is confident, technically he is great, he fits in and physically he doesn’t look like a 20-year-old.”
Iwobi has not only started but impressed against some tough opposition.
A full Champions League debut at Camp Nou was as big a stage as anyone could imagine but the winger wasn’t bothered, playing well despite an Arsenal defeat.
Next there were starts and goals in the Premier League against Everton and Watford, earning the Nigerian the chance to keep his place.
“I think the boss has done really well with him because he brought him in, brought him out and then put him into the team,” Wilshere added.
It’s something Arsenal have done very well over the years, bringing through young talent and looking to make the most of players who are yet to really prove themselves at the very top.
Wilshere was the last to come all the way through the academy and Iwobi appears to be a worthy successor.
“You have to give credit to the boss as well because, at a club like Arsenal, you are looking to win things, finish top four, get Champions League, win competitions, and to play a 19-year-old and keep your faith in him week in, week out… [Iwobi] has repaid him well.”
So far he certainly has.
Arsenal may look to sign a wide player this summer, pushing Iwobi down in the pecking order, but Wenger has proven he trusts the midfielder.
Right now he is probably ahead of Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joel Campbell when Wenger is picking his sides: no matter what, we should see a lot of him again next season.