As Arsenal players get ready for the new season, Alex Iwobi has been speaking to Bleacher Report, explaining what pre-season is like.
The hardest bit, it seems, are the star runs, which leaves the youngster tired and needing extra carbs.
“I went on holiday to Marbella with some friends just to take time to clear my mind because it was a hectic season—but I have been training as well to keep moving forward.
“I went on some runs with my friends on holiday, and since I got back, we have been playing five-a-side at Powerleague. It’s a good standard because a lot of us are professional.
“We also have a schedule to follow from the club, so I try to stick to that and also do a few bits that I think will help me.
“It’s been hard. In the morning, we tend to do a lot of circuit training and some running with and without the ball.
“We also do possession drills which can be hard work—and then we will go into the gym to work on upper- or lower-body strength. Later on we might get the ball out for another session.
“It is [tiring]. There is one exercise that we have been doing that is so hard. They call them star runs.
“The cones are laid out in the shape of a star, and then you have to run against the clock. The coaches make the star bigger so that it becomes more difficult. It’s hard.
“It definitely does [mean I need extra fuel]. I have been taking on board so many carbs. So much rice and pasta. Yesterday I ate three plates of rice.
“It is hard, and I have noticed I have been going to bed much earlier. Sleep is very important, you need rest when you train hard.”
Arsenal have stopped Iwobi going to the Olympics with Nigeria and they look to include him fully in pre-season ahead of a season in which he is expected to play a bigger role than he did in his breakthrough campaign.
“We are going on a pre-season tour, and I just hope to continue to show what I am capable of and continue to get games. I don’t like to get ahead of myself or listen to rumours, so I just aim to work hard to get into the team.
“The manager has shown he is willing to give young players a chance, and he does give me confidence. So I am hopeful it will be a good year.”
Iwobi made 20 appearances for Arsenal last season (scoring two and assisting three) after he surprised everyone by being really quite excellent.
When he was first thrown into the side, we all thought Arsene Wenger was just experimenting with a bit of banter, but he looks very much like the real deal and it’s going to be fascinating watching him develop over the next few seasons.