Alex Iwobi and his uncle Jay Jay Okocha
On Tuesday, Arsenal starlet Alex Iwobi scored a brace against Lionel Messi’s Argentina. In an exclusive interview with Soccer Laduma, he revealed why he decided to represent Nigeria instead of England.
The 21-year-old, who is the nephew of Super Eagles legend Jay-Jay Okocha, made his Nigeria debut in October 2015 and has since represented the African side 14 times.
He has scored four goals in the process, including the strike that booked Nigeria their spot at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as well as a brace against Argentina, who rested Messi, in a 4-2 win on Wednesday.
Iwobi was born in Nigeria but moved to England at the age of four. He came through Arsenal’s youth academy and represented the Three Lions at U16, U17 and U18 levels. However, at senior level he opted to switch allegiance to the African side and has recently explained why.
"I was growing up in England and England was the only national team I knew, so I was actually very pleased to play at national level," he said in an exclusive interview published in this week’s edition of Soccer Laduma.
"However, my family are all from Nigeria, I was born in Nigeria, my uncle (Jay-Jay Okocha) is a legend in Nigeria.
"That’s why I thought I would give it a chance. That’s why I went to the U23s and somehow felt more welcome, and I thought it’s where I belong, so I made the decision to switch."
Iwobi made his senior debut for Arsenal in October 2015, and has since represented the Gunners 68 times.