By James Agberebi:
Super Eagles forward Alex Iwobi has insisted the big money in football has not changed him as he remains his humble self.
Iwobi, 21, blossomed from Arsenal’s youth set-up and has established himself as a member of the first team squad since getting his breakthrough in the second half of the 2015/2016 season.
The Nigerian star, who was part of the Arsenal team that won last season’s FA Cup, is yet to taste action this season as he was an unused substitute in the Gunners’ thrilling 4-3 win against Leicester City in the first game of the 2017/2018 Premier League season at the Emirates on Friday.
Discussing his sudden rise from a youth team player at Arsenal, Iwobi said he is benefitting from being the nephew of former Super Eagles skipper Austin Okocha.
“I still hang with the same friends when they’re back from uni, every time after training I still go home and sleep,” Iwobi said on arsenal.com.
“Nothing’s really changed, just playing in the first team I guess. I do get recognised more, people are like ‘ahhh’.
“Two years ago you could just come in, I’d normally go back to my old area and play in my cage and no one would bother me, but if I go and play in my cage now – ‘ahhh Alex Iwobi’s here’. I’m still getting used to that because I still feel like I’m the same as my friends and the same person as two years ago, but when people are like ‘do you know what you’ve done?’
“Obviously I was lucky to have an uncle that played football, so he still gives me advice from time to time, but my mum and dad keep me grounded.
“The more I’m progressing, the more money, the more the fame comes with it, but they’re helping me invest because football is a really short career, so they’re also making me think about life outside of football as well a bit more, but I’m not one to go spending and living a flashy lifestyle, I try to keep as humble as I can and I’m still the same.
“That’s what I’m going to keep on saying, I’m still the same person as I was two years ago.”