Chuka Iwobi told reporters that he hopes his son, Alex, has started out on a long journey with Nigeria after making his competitive debut for the side against Egypt on Friday.

Iwobi senior also took time to respond to the reports that England tried to get Alex to change his mind regarding his nationality up until Friday might.

Chuka was speaking to Reports Afrique which was then picked up as part of a piece in Nigeria’s Sun News which commended the youngster for not turning his back on the country of his birth in the way so many who have come before him have.

“In terms of where he is now,” Chuka said, “he has allegiance to Nigeria.

“I am not in a position to say England has come for him or not. I cannot confirm, I cannot deny. He has come to Ni­geria, to play for Nigeria.

“He is, according to FIFA registration, a Nigerian player. So, it is not even a question. He is here to play for Nigeria. According to FIFA records, he is with Nigeria.

“I am praying for it to be the beginning of a long journey for him playing for Nigeria and getting to that pinnacle of playing for Nigeria as well.

“Maybe, God willing, who knows? We don’t know where the journey will take him to.

“Hopefully with hard work, dedication and respect, doing well for Nigeria, he could go the way of his uncle, Jay-Jay Okocha who captained the Super Eagles.

“What a better feeling it would be for me as a father to see him play for Nigeria and becoming a captain in the future, though that’s a long way down the line.”

Iwobi himself pointed to the influence of his uncle when deciding on his international future. The Arsenal youngster said “I remember one time he was playing for Bolton and I was lucky enough to go and watch with my dad.

“Then we were just having a kick around and he came over, showed me something and then I’d be like, ‘How on earth did he do that?’! Then I would go away and spend the next few days trying to learn it.”

“Playing for England was a good experience, but Nigeria gave me a great opportunity to go and play for my home country, and also follow in the footsteps of my uncle, so I think that is going to be the pathway for me.

“He (Jay Jay) told me that if I played for Nigeria, I could become even better than him. To hear that was massive because he was a great player.

“He’s given me a challenge and I might have to accept it.”

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Writer. Feminist. Dreamer. Gooner. Owner of DailyCannon.com, writing about Arsenal since 2008. Sometimes found in the Guardian, Vice.com & elsewhere talking queer issues, politics & football. If in doubt, assume sarcasm.