Arsenal forward Alex Iwobi has dedicated his latest goal scoring exploits in the Uefa Youth League to club legend Thierry Henry. The Nigerian international scored a brace in the 2-0 win over the Bayern Munich youth team to maintain the young Gunners' perfect start to the campaign.
Henry, who is taking his Uefa coaching badges, is required to work at a club as part of one of the course requirements, but he has been invited by Andries Jonker, who is the head of the Arsenal academy to be part of the U19 set up and help with their preparations for the Youth League, which was born out of the now defunct Next Gen Series.
Iwobi, who had a breakthrough season with the Gunners U21 side last season, was promoted to the first-team by Arsene Wenger this summer, and also impressed the French manager during the pre-season, which saw him make the bench for the third round Capital One Cup win over Tottenham. He has begun this season in fine fashion as well, with four goals and two assists in eight games in all competitions.
The 19-year-old Nigerian forward, who recently signed a new long-term contract, put in an impressive performance against the young Bavarian side, scoring both the goals in five second-half minutes. The young striker has dedicated his goals to the French World Cup winner, admitting that it was his [Henry's] advice that helped him score during the game.
"I owe that to him. He told me before the game that most wingers get their goals at the back post so I tried to take his advice on board. Other coaches I have had have all played football but no disrespect to them, I have never had anyone like Thierry. I am basically learning from the best," Iwobi said, as quoted by the Guardian.
"We all want to listen and learn. He's like one of us. He just jokes around. But when we have to be serious he's very serious. He is teaching us what to do. He may criticise us a few times but that's just for us to get better," the Arsenal youth team star added.
The north London club's head of the academy has also showered praise on the Frenchman, who is revered by everyone at the club, owing to his exploits in a seven-year career that saw him with the Premier League and the FA Cup on multiple occasions, while breaking the club's goal scoring record. Jonker, who was Louis van Gaal's assistant at Bayern Munich, believes that Henry has the drive needed to become a good coach, and is confident that he can transfer some of his knowledge onto the young players at the club.
"Thierry's own wish is to be at Arsenal five, six, seven days a week. It's his own ambition to invest in his own future as a coach. What I am recognising is a guy who had a brilliant career as a player that is able to transfer his knowledge and experience to the boys. And the most important thing is he is willing to do it. That's why he is very welcome with us and that's why I invited him to be with this staff, to get experience as a coach and to be on the other side," the Dutchman explained.