Future of Arsenal’s Alex Iwobi not tied to Arsene Wenger – Jay-Jay Okocha
Iwobi, 21, came up through the Gunners’ academy and broke into the first-team late last season, but has lost his starting place in recent months.
Former Nigeria star Okocha said his nephew is determined to fight for his place, no matter whether Wenger opts to extend his own contract or leave the club this summer.
“No player is happy when he’s not playing but he’s still learning, he’s still young,” Okocha told Omnisport. “He’s not playing for Wenger. He’s playing for Arsenal, even though Wenger gave him the opportunity. If Wenger goes, he’ll fight on.”
Iwobi has started 18 Premier League games this season, but was dropped following the 3-1 loss at Liverpool in early March. He hasn’t made a single appearance since coming on as a substitute in the 2-2 draw against Manchester City on April 2. But Okocha said such a spell should be expected for a young player.
“It’s not easy to break into an Arsenal team from youth,” Okocha said. “A young player won’t cope with a whole season. It’s understandable he’s not been playing recently. Overall he has done well.”
Okocha also said he hopes Wenger will stay on as manager, and that the Frenchman doesn’t deserve the criticism he has been receiving this season.
“I don’t think Wenger should go,” he said. “They’ve been up there for 20 years, you’d expect they’d have one or two bad seasons. He’s one of the best coaches in the world and he deserves a lot of respect for what he’s done.”