Arsenal star Alex Iwobi discusses his Olympic hopes

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi in action with West Ham's Manuel Lanzini

The Nigeria international could miss the opening league games of Arsenal's next season.

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi in action with West Ham's Manuel Lanzini

Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi has been discussing his hopes of starring for Nigeria in the Olympic Games in Brazil this summer, in an interview with TRUE Africa.

With six caps to his name, the forward will be eager to follow in the footsteps of his uncle, legendary African star Jay-Jay Okocha, with the former Bolton Wanderers midfielder helping Nigeria to Olympic Gold in Atlanta early in his career.

And Iwobi made it clear he wants to help his country to glory 20 years later, if he is selected by head coach Samson Siasia.

"Nigeria is a great footballing nation and deserves to assume her rightful place in Africa and world football and I am keen to be part of a team that achieves this goal," he told TRUE Africa.

"I believe that Nigeria has a crop of excellent players who are capable of doing great things at the Olympics. Coach Samson Siasia deserves a lot of praise for securing a place for the nation at the Olympics.

"If I am invited, I will do my best to make a meaningful contribution."

Crystal Palace's Yannick Bolasie in action with Arsenal's Nacho Monreal and Alex Iwobi

Iwobi's involvement may well put a small bump in the way of his otherwise rapid progress for Arsenal, with the Olympic football tournament not concluding until August 20. Last season the Premier League kicked off on August 8.

Iwobi was a huge breakout star for the Gunners over the final few months of last season. Having been on the fringes of the first-team earlier in the campaign, earning token minutes in the league alongside more substantial action in the cups, the 20-year-old received a huge vote of confidence from his manager by being given a starting role in the most high profile of surroundings, impressing in the Champions League knockout stages away to Barcelona.

Iwobi went on to start eight of the nine remaining Premier League games, keeping more established teammates such as Theo Walcott on the sidelines, and it is clear the young Nigerian is now a major part of Arsene Wenger's first-team plans.

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi and West Brom's Craig Dawson in action

Much like Hector Bellerin, who became one of the first names on the team sheet in the 2015-16 season following his own impressive breakthrough performances the year before, Iwobi will be hoping to nail down a spot by raising his game even further.

With Iwobi now set to miss much of pre-season and possibly the first few matches of Arsenal's campaign if Nigeria reach the last last four, he may well find another player is given the opportunity to impress in his absence.

But a note of optimism, he could return to the Emirates with even more confidence and as a gold medallist, which could yet be another significant step in his development.

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi shoots at goal

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