Arsenal midfielder Alex Iwobi has said he is surprised that teammate Reiss Nelson considers him an inspiration, given the two players are only four years apart in age.
The Nigerian made his first-team breakthrough during the 2015/16 season and emerged with a lot less fanfare than Nelson did. Nelson seems like a huge talent and Iwobi was surprised that he was his inspiration.
“Coming from him, that is a surprise – the way he talks to me, you wouldn’t think I’m his inspiration!” Iwobi told Arsenal Player. “To be his inspiration, that’s crazy. But he’s a young lad, he’s got a long way to do and I’m sure he knows what to do.
“Last season when Reiss was training with us you could see he was a special talent. He’s got good feet, good awareness, his technique is amazing – he’s definitely one for the future.
“Most young players when they come into the first team, they look nervous, you normally have to introduce them and make it easy for them. But straight away he was calling for the ball, he’s demanding things – he plays like he’s mature, he’s comfortable. It’s good for him.”
Iwobi is often held up as an example to young players as he’s the most recent young player to break into the Arsenal first-team.
His talent wasn’t obvious at first glance, but once he got his opportunity in the FA Cup, he impressed enough to earn a spot in the Premier League team later on in the season. He’s now very much a part of the Arsenal squad.
It seems like Nelson could follow a similar path. Should he feature in the cup games this season, some impressive performances might give manager Arsene Wenger something to think about.
If that happens, he and Iwobi will be competing for the same first-team place. Nelson has scored four goals in two U23 games so far, and is looking ready for first team football.