Mesut Ozil compares Alex Iwobi to Edgar Davids

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This time last year, few people outside of Arsenal's fanbase had heard of Alex Iwobi but the 20-year-old has developed rapidly since then and now finds himself at the forefront of Arsene Wenger's plans.

Having joined the club as a primary school student, Iwobi's ascension to the senior squad is already considered a tremendous success for Arsenal's youth system. Once considered the best in England, the Hale End academy had not seen a local boy become a first-team regular since Jack Wilshere in 2008.

The technically gifted winger has appeared in four of Arsenal's six Premier League matches so far this season and also started their Champions League tie against Paris Saint-Germain two weeks ago.

He has acquired three assists from those appearances, proving a more creative force than even Mesut Ozil. And it appears the German playmaker is very much aware of that fact and has been thoroughly impressed with his team-mate's performances so far this season.

Ozil praised Iwobi for his strength on the ball as well as his good defensive work. Interestingly, he sees a mix of two very different legends in his playing style, including his uncle Jay-Jay Okocha.

Davids + Okocha = Iwobi

Speaking to Arsenal's matchday programme, Ozil said: "Alex reminds me of a mixture of him [Okocha] and Edgar Davids. He's really strong on the ball, also defensively, but he's good in front of goal too.

"He's developing really well and if he continues the way he's been playing for the whole season, he will enhance his game.

"The manager knows exactly how good he is and I wish him all the best."

Praise from Ferdinand

And the plaudits don't stop with Ozil with former England captain Rio Ferdinand hailing Iwobi's performance against Chelsea. Although he did not score or assist any of Arsenal's three goals, his movement caused Branislav Ivanovic and Gary Cahill all sorts of problems.

Ferdinand believes the complexity of his runs is something that you do not often see in a player so young.

Speaking to BT Sport, he said: "He played like an experienced veteran player.

"He got in between the lines between Chelsea’s midfield and defence and you don’t really see that from young players like him.

"He doesn’t stand still and admire passes, he plays with an intent to hurt the opposition."


Iwobi is expected to start Arsenal's second group game against FC Basel on Tuesday evening but will need to keep up his good form if he is to keep Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain out of the side.

The Englishman was given a chance to impress in the EFL Cup last week and duly impressed by grabbing a goal in a 4-0 win.

Jay-Jay Okocha
Alex Iwobi
Premier League
Mesut Özil
Theo Walcott
Edgar Davids

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