Alex Iwobi has revealed that training with ‘world class players’ at Arsenal is standing him in good stead to feature for Nigeria at this summer’s World Cup.
The Gunners winger will take in his first taste of the international tournament in Russia in June and July after the Super Eagles qualified for the competition, and Iwobi will be tasked with helping to create chances – and score them – for his national side.
Speaking to FourFourTwo ahead of the World Cup kicking off next month, the 21-year-old explained how playing and training alongside some of the world’s best players in north London meant that he knew what to expect when Nigeria face off against Argentina, Croatia and Iceland in Group D.
He said: “The fact I’ve been training with world-class players every day has given me a bit of experience, so I’ll know what to expect in Russia. The intensity I train at with Arsenal is very high, so I’m preparing in a good way. I feel like I can do well.”
Iwobi’s match winning heroics last October secured a vital 1-0 victory over Zambia ensured that Nigeria would play at their third successive finals for only the second time in their history.
With the possibility of emerging from their group – most likely as runners-up to favourites Argentina – to progress to the knockout rounds of the competition, Iwobi knows full well just how much his goal meant to him, the fans and his country as a whole.
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Indeed, the winger added that he struggled to hold back his emotions at the final whistle and stated the feeling would live with him for a long time.
He said: “It’s difficult to describe, as the feeling was crazy,” he says. “I remember looking at the crowd and seeing my parents jumping – I almost cried, it was emotional.
“It was always my dream as a kid so I can’t wait to be involved. I’m looking forward to the atmosphere and wearing the colours of Nigeria.
“I would never have guessed I’d do something like that so early in my career. I had dreams about it, but the fact that my dreams came true – I can’t put into words how I felt. After the game I went to the hotel and my mum and dad were both there. Just seeing them, I almost burst into tears again.”