Alex Iwobi

Iwobi: I Never Thought I Would Play Against Messi So Soon

Arsenal youth prodigy, Alex Iwobi, who is in Nigeria's squad to play against Egypt in the 2017 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers on the 25th and 29th of this month in Kaduna and Alexandria, has spoken of his pleasant surprise at getting first team opportunities at the London club.

Iwobi was in the Gunners' starting line-up that lost to Barcelona 3-1 in their Round of 16 second leg clash against champions Barcelona at the Nou Camp on Wednesday night, and showed a gutsy performance that was one of the positives of Arsenal's display though the London side ultimately lost 5-1 on aggregate to exit the UEFA Champions League. 

The nephew of former Super Eagles midfield maestro Austin 'Jay Jay' Okocha admitted that he expected to be loaned out this season by manager Arsene Wenger, but after his performance at Camp Nou, the Nigerian rising star is now confident he can only get better. 

"I never thought I would get this far. I honestly thought I was going to go on loan at the start of the season. The manager has tried to show some faith in me and I am trying to prove him right by playing well every time I play," Iwobi is quoted as saying by the Daily Mail

"To play against one of the best teams in the world in one of the best stadiums in the world is a young man's dream. It was crazy," Iwobi who will team up with Samson Siasia's team after the Gunners' Premier League game against Everton on Saturday went on.

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"I was pleased because, especially at 19, I never thought I would be here playing against the likes of Messi, Neymar and Suarez. I am just happy to be here.

"I didn't know how to feel when I was told I was playing. I was buzzing. I just wanted to go out and show to the world how I could play in a match against the best in the world," the 19-year-old forward cum midfielder stated.

"I am pleased with my performance. I just wish that the team had won (against Barcelona). No matter the results, this was always going to be a fantastic learning experience for me.'

"Unfortunately, if we had taken our chances, we probably would have won.

'Everybody in the dressing room is disappointed but not too disappointed," Iwobi added.

The youngster was substituted in the 72nd minute by French striker Olivier Giroud.

Messi, Louis Suarez and Neymar all scored for the reigning European champions although Mohamed Elneny whom Iwobi is likely to play against next week scored Arsneal's consolation goal.

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