Iwobi: Training with world-class players at Arsenal will help me shine for Nigeria at World Cup
The Super Eagles face Croatia in their opening group game in Kaliningrad on June 16, before taking on tournament debutants Iceland and Lionel Messi’s Argentina, who lost in the final four years ago.
Nigeria have been drawn in the same group as the Albiceleste in each of their last three World Cup appearances, narrowly losing 1-0 in 2002 and 2010, before going down 3-2 in Brazil last time out.
But Iwobi believes his experience working with stars such as Mesut Ozil and Henrikh Mkhitaryan can help Nigeria finally upset the odds when they meet the South American giants in St Petersburg.
Speaking in the June 2018 issue of FourFourTwo, he says: “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 proved the hero for Nigeria last October, when his goal against Zambia secured a 1-0 win for the Super Eagles and booked their berth at a third consecutive finals. The 21-year-old, who has earned 15 caps, admits he couldn’t hold back the tears when he spotted his parents celebrating.
“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.”
Read the full interview with Alex Iwobi in the June 2018 issue of FourFourTwo magazine. The latest in our series of World Cup special issues, we chat exclusively to Harry Kane and analyse the challenges facing Neymar, Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo in their bid to achieve international immortality. Plus, we hear from Davor Suker, Hristo Stoichkov and Toto Schillaci about how to win the Golden Boot, wonder what’s happened to 2014 hero Mario Gotze and definitively reveal which of the 20 World Cup finals is the best ever. Order your copy of FourFourTwo today, and then become a subscriber!