Wenger: England missed trick with young Gunner

Date published: Monday 1st February 2016 8:23

Alex Iwobi: Should play for England, according to Arsene Wenger

Alex Iwobi: Should play for England, according to Arsene Wenger

Arsene Wenger believes England missed a trick in allowing young Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi to pledge his international future to Nigeria.

England manager Roy Hodgson was at the Emirates Stadium on Saturday to see Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, Calum Chambers, who scored the opening goal of the game, and Kieran Gibbs play in the Gunners’ 2-1 win over Burnley.

Wenger, however, believes there was another player on show, 19-year-old Iwobi, who should be in Hodgson’s thoughts having represented the Three Lions at youth level.

“He plays for Nigeria now, and he should play for England,” Wenger said of Iwobi, the cousin of former Bolton star Jay-Jay Okocha.

“I think he has shown everybody that he is a good football player again. I find him personally very interesting because his decision making is spot on and his awareness is very interesting.

“I like the timing of the decision making and the quality of his decision making. He always turns when you want him to turn and he plays the ball where you want him to play the ball. It is very interesting.”

Oxlade-Chamberlain, meanwhile,, turned in a below-par display and attracted criticism from the Emirates Stadium crowd.

“I didn’t especially feel that, but maybe he misses a goal,” Wenger said. “I think he is physically there, he worked very hard in training, worked on his fitness and I feel he has the resources to go in one against one.

“He gave an assist on the second goal, but he is harsh with himself.”

Asked if Oxlade-Chamberlain was too harsh on himself, Wenger replied: “Yes, I think so.

“It is not so much a lack of confidence, but he has a high expectation level that he is very demanding of his own performances.

“He is 22, and we forget that these guys are still very young. He is going into the age where he will be really efficient and I think he will make the Euros.”

Wenger, who rejected the notion that the former Southampton man was “too nice”, added: “He plays many games, if you look at the number of games he has played since the start of the season.

“Automatic choice in our job does not exist any more, especially at the big clubs. You have some players, who they get to that status at 26, 27, but at 22 not many are an automatic choice at the big clubs.”

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