Jack Wilshere has heaped praise on Alex Iwobi following the young attacker's breakthrough into the first-team in the latter half of the current campaign. The Nigeria international has made 20 appearances for the Gunners in all competitions and has become a regular member of the starting XI in recent weeks.
The 19-year-old forward was impressive for the U21 team last season, and following an impressive pre-season, he was included in the first-team by Arsene Wenger. After an initial appearance in the League Cup, he impressed in the FA Cup, which eventually led to the manager including him in the Premier League squad. He has since displaced Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell as the manager's preferred choice on the wings alongside Alexis Sanchez and Mesut Ozil.
Wilshere admitted to noticing Iwobi's 'special' talent during his performances for the U18's in the FA Youth Cup last season, while also crediting the ease in which the forward has settled in with the first-team. The England international, however, believes that equal credit must be given to Wenger for his latest addition, as he believes it is difficult to integrate a player into the senior squad when the team are fighting for trophies on different fronts during the course of a campaign.
"I really like him as a player. I watched him in the FA Youth Cup last year and you could always tell there was something special about him," Wilshere told Arsenal's official site.
"He used to train with us quite a lot. He was young, so he never really got a look in when he came over, but you could tell he had something special and he has really matured. If you ask anyone, it looks like he has been in the team for a number of years. He is confident, technically he is great, he fits in and physically he doesn't look like a 20-year-old."
"I think the boss has done really well with him because he brought him in, brought him out and then put him into the team. You have to give credit to the boss as well because, at a club like Arsenal, you are looking to win things, finish top four, get Champions League, win competitions, and to play a 19-year-old and keep your faith in him week in, week out... [Iwobi] has repaid him well," the English midfielder explained.