ARSENAL manager Arsene Wenger has declared that he will not stop Super Eagles playmaker Alex Iwobi from playing for Nigeria at this year’s Olympic Games taking place in Rio de Janeiro.
Iwobi, 19, is one of the stars, U23 coach Samson Siasia is relying on to fly the Nigerian flag in Brazil this summer when the team seeks to emulate the feat of the 1996 squad and bring home gold. At Atlanta in 1996, the team was captained by another former Arsenal player Nwankwo Kanu, who went on to become one of the game’s greats.
This year’s football tournament runs from August 3 to 20 and could see Iwobi miss the start of the 2016/2017 season, which has prompted fears that Arsenal may be reluctant to release him. However, Wenger has made it clear that he will not block the participation of the youngster in the event.
Mr Wenger said: “He had the choice between England and Nigeria and in the end he chose Nigeria. We respect that and also the possibility that he will go to the Olympic Games and travel a bit more than he would have done here.”
In addition, Mr Wenger also confirmed that the 19-year-old is in talks with the club, to sign a new deal that will see him earn around £30,000 per week. Over recent weeks, Iwobi has claimed a starting place in the Arsenal line-up, forcing his way into the team and getting ion the scoresheet too.
Meanwhile, Watford manager, Quique Sanchez Flores, has asked his midfielders to chip in with some goals, to take the burden off their top scorer Odion Ighalo. A revelation at the start of the season, Ighalo has scored 16 goals so far but has only found the back of the net in the Premier League once in 2016.
Mr Flores said: “At this moment I am not going to put pressure on Ighalo or Deeney. We need to score more goals and we need help from the second line behind them.
“It’s not enough to rely on one or two players to score. This is not our style of football as the responsibility is the same for all the players, they need to be contributing more.”