Arsenal man says training with stars has taught him more than loan spell ever could

Alex Iwobi says that training alongside the likes of Mesut Ozil has made him a better footballer than a loan spell away would have done.

Arsenal prodigy Alex Iwobi has told the Arsenal Weekly Podcast that he has become a better footballer because he stayed at the club and trained with the first-team rather than being sent out on loan.

The 19-year-old is enjoying a remarkable breakthrough season at the Emirates Stadium since making his season debut for the Gunners in the Capital One Cup defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in October.

The midfielder has gone on to make 14 appearances in four different competitions for the club since then, and was thrust fully into the limelight by being handed a first Champions League start against Barcelona at the Nou Camp last week.

That was followed by a first Premier League start on Saturday against Everton at Goodison Park, with Iwobi scoring his first senior goal for the club in the 2-0 win.

The teenager admitted last week that he had expected to be loaned out at the start of the season, but instead there is now talk that he will be offered a lucrative wage rise to match his rise to prominence.

Iwobi has said that he would still have learned a great deal had he been loaned out this season, but insists that training with the likes of Mesut Ozil and Alexis Sanchez has greatly accelerated his development.

He told the Arsenal Weekly Podcast:"With going out on loan, it's men's football so you have to win all the time [and develop] that 'anything to win' kind of mentality, so you learn things quicker on loan.

"But when you're playing with world-class players and training with them every day you become a better footballer in my opinion. You learn a lot more training with the likes of Ozil and Sanchez."

Iwobi will be hoping to continue his role in midfield for Arsene Wenger's side after the international break when they host Watford as they look for an way to make up an 11-point deficit on leaders Leicester City.

The Gunners do have a game in hand over the Foxes and rivals Tottenham Hotspur in second, but will need to put together a fine run of late-season form to stand a chance of resurrecting their hopes of a first league title in 12 years.

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