Emergent Arsenal star privileged by crazy praise from former Gunners striker

Alex Iwobi says to be spoken of so highly by his compatriot Nwankwo Kanu is "crazy".

Arsenal star Alex Iwobi has told the club's official website that he feels privileged to have been on the receiving end from former Gunners striker and Nigeria captain Nwankwo Kanu.

After joining the club as an eight-year-old as starring for the youth teams, Iwobi has enjoyed a remarkable surge to prominence this season since making his senior debut in a Capital One Cup tie in October.

He has made 17 appearances so far this season in all competitions, a tally which includes scoring on his first two Premier League starts and playing the first 72 minutes of the Champions League tie against Barcelona at the Nou Camp in March.

Iwobi has received praise from players and pundits alike for his mature performances since his breakthrough, and one of his biggest admirers appears to be former Gunners striker Kanu.

The 39-year-old, who was captain of a Nigeria side including Iwobi's talented uncle Jay-Jay Okocha during his career, lauded the 19-year-old as "the star Nigeria is looking for", according to the Arsenal website.

Two-time Aftican footballer of the year Kanu scored 43 times in 197 games for the Gunners, and Iwobi has admitted that he was humbled by the praise from a player he used to look up to growing up.

The teenager told the club's website: "As a kid, especially playing at Arsenal, I did look up to him. He was just a classy player and I have spoken to him a few times as well.

"We have had conversations about Nigeria, about myself and what I need to do. [He says] to just be relaxed and he congratulated me and told me I was doing well.

"To hear that [praise] from such a player like him is crazy and I just have to prove him right. I don’t feel pressure, it is just a privilege to hear that."

Iwobi has fast become integral to Arsene Wenger's side since his breakthrough into the senior set-up, and will be hoping to start for the club as they face West Bromwich Albion on Thursday night.

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