Although the decision has already been made, and the likelihood of it being changed is decreasing by the day, Arsenal should let Alex Iwobi join up with the Nigerian squad to feature in the summer Olympic tournament.
Pre-season is already underway with the new campaign just over a month away, and I can understand arguments both for and against Iwobi’s Olympic inclusion. But considering he’s in Arséne Wenger’s first-team plans, the news that Arsenal won’t let him go to Rio isn’t particularly surprising.
With that being said, it is disappointing.
At 20-years-old, Iwobi has only emerged on the first-team scene in recent months and an experience like representing the country of your birth in a competitive tournament is something that shouldn’t be passed up.
The same thing applies to Manchester City’s Kelechi Iheanacho – both forwards are young and should be afforded the opportunity to represent the Super Eagles this summer.
If the tournament was in June as opposed to early-mid August, I’m sure they’d be going and there wouldn’t be much fuss made about it either. The disruption that it may cause though, is the main reason why both clubs have probably opted against letting the players go – especially after a full pre-season under their belt.
Iwobi knows the importance of starting the season well, as Arsenal need to maintain consistency throughout if they’re going to have much hope of a strong title charge this time around.
With that, he’ll be hoping to stay focused and impress the boss enough to play an even more significant role than last season.
Although he took supporters by surprise last term, he’ll be aware that to achieve his own targets for the forthcoming season, he will need to maintain consistency and prove his ability in training with potentially four or five wide players who can all play ahead of him, including Joel Campbell and Theo Walcott.