Iwobi feels ‘sharper’ under new manager’s intense training regime
Attacking midfielder signed new long-term deal with Arsenal earlier this month
30 August, 2018 — By Steve Barnett
HE might have been substituted at half-time during Arsenal’s 3-1 victory over West Ham on Saturday, but that hasn’t stopped Alex Iwobi from praising the new challenges he’s facing under Unai Emery.
The striker joined Arsenal when he was just nine years old, and grew up at the club only ever knowing Arsène Wenger as the manager. But under his new gaffer Iwobi has revealed that he feels even “sharper”, saying that he’s enjoying the new demands being made at the Emirates Stadium.
“It’s exciting times to be fair,” Iwobi told Arsenal Player. “Everybody’s enjoying and buying into the new ideas. For me personally, I’m enjoying the new sessions, the new training methods and the new ideas, so I’m enjoying my time with him (Emery). He demands a lot. He’s a lot more intense, a lot of high pressing and keeping the ball so that it benefits us. It’s good for us, especially the attackers who like to have the ball a lot.”
Iwobi added: “It’s making me feel a bit sharper, I’m doing things with a bit more intensity. It’s not just for me, though, I feel like I’m helping the team a lot more. It’s benefitting me a lot more.”
Iwobi signed a new “long-term” deal with the Gunners in August, which reportedly tied the 22-year-old Nigeria international to north London until at least 2023.
Reflecting on the challenges that lie ahead, he said that under Emery there is the pressure to prove his abilities once again. “Whenever something in the system changes, you have to prove yourself again,” he said. “But wherever you go, you have to prove that you’re better than whoever else is on the team. At a team like Arsenal, that’s always going to be hard, so I always have to be on it in training and in matches. I’ve got to be different. It’s going to be hard because we’ve got so many attackers and so many world-class players, so I’ve just got to prove that I’m on that level or as good as them, so that I can be ahead of them, which is my aim.”
Meanwhile, Arsenal will find out who they will face in the group stage of the Europa League tomorrow (Friday). The draw gets underway in Monaco at noon, with the Gunners’ first match set to take place on Thursday, September 20.