Former England striker, John Fashanu has urged Super Eagles head coach, Gernot Rohr to build his team around Arsenal forward, Alex Iwobi ahead of the 2019 African Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Egypt.
He said 22-year-old nephew of legendary Jay-Jay Okocha, who has now made over 120 appearances for the Gunners since breaking through to the first team in 2015, has certainly improved of late.
The attacker worked through the ranks before breaking into the first-team at the age of 19 and has impressed many with a string of appearances which earned him an established place in the squad.
“He (Iwobi) has been exceptionally brilliant in his last couple of games for Arsenal and I was really impressed by his play in the game against Liverpool,” said former Wimbledon and England striker, John Fashanu.
“No doubt, he is in good form and I believe he would maintain the form in the latter part of the season and more importantly to the Nations Cup coming up in the middle of the year.”
The 2019 AFCON in Egypt will be Iwobi’s first appearance at the continental showpiece but Fashanu thinks that Nigeria should look to build their attack around the 22-year-old.
“There is no doubt he has the talent and experience to control the game from the midfield. I hope the manager is seeing things the way I’m seeing it,” Fashanu went on.
“He is in form and he should be the one that would initiate most of our moves. The players should get him involved and by this, I mean he should get the ball regularly.
“He is a big threat to the opponents when he is with the ball as he has the intelligence to unlock any defence with his passes.”
Fashanu’s view is echoed by one of Iwobi’s international teammates. Kenneth Omeruo is currently on loan at the Spanish side CD Leganes from Premier League giants Chelsea and believes that Iwobi is a key player for the Super Eagles.
“Iwobi has improved a lot and he brings that into the national team as well,” Omeruo told Goal.com.
“He has good footwork, he moves well and he enjoys what he does. For him, it is fun to play football. He is a really good player but the exciting thing is there’s more to come.”
Fans of Nigeria will be hoping that is the case and they aren’t alone. Arsenal supporters are also backing Alex Iwobi to become a key player in their side’s attack in the coming months.
There are definite signs of progress under new head coach Unai Emery but the Gunners still face an uphill challenge.