Arsene Wenger has revealed that England’s reluctance to push for Alex Iwobi influenced the Arsenal midfielder’s decision to play for Nigeria.
Prior to getting his first cap for Nigeria in October 2015, the 21-year-old had featured for the Three Lions’ youth sides.
And despite prospects of representing them at full international level, Iwobi opted to don the Super Eagles’ white and Green – a decision Wenger said was made easier by England’s rather soft approach.
“He had the potential to play for England and for Nigeria,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.
“Today he looks very happy with Nigeria. When I speak to him, he’s had very positive experiences.
“He brings his quality to Nigeria – he’s absolutely a creative player going forward. He’s very strong in small spaces and he’s starting to score goals as well.
“For a while it was open between England and Nigeria, and England didn’t really push for Alex during that period. Nigeria were more willing to have him. I’ve seen many times that sons of parents from Nigeria want to go back to their parents’ country.”
Last month, against Zambia in a decisive Russia 2018 qualifying tie, Iwobi netted the goal that sealed Nigeria’s sixth appearance at the World Cup. And he will be hoping to continue to impress Gernot Rohr as the Super Eagles take on Algeria in a dead rubber qualifier encounter on Friday before Tuesday’s Argentina friendly.