Alex Iwobi admits to doubting that he would ever make it at Arsenal

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

The attacker has endured a difficult path to the senior side.

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

Arsenal youngster Alex Iwobi has shed light on his difficult journey from academy prospect to first-team regular, in an interview with the club’s official website.

The 20-year-old burst onto the scene last year after starting and impressing in a Champions League tie with Barcelona and has not looked back since, but his journey has been far from plain sailing.

“I nearly got released when I was 13 or 14, so back then I really didn't think I would make it here,” said Iwobi. “There was a stage when I wasn't playing up above my age group, but all the better players were. I questioned myself a lot at that age about whether I was good enough, but I eventually got through it.

Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring the first goal for Arsenal with Alex Iwobi

“I always questioned myself about whether I was even good enough to play in my own age group. That's all I ever thought about.

"When I was about 13 I needed the confidence from my family, because I was getting a lot of criticism from elsewhere. I heard people saying that I wasn't good enough, people at school, a few coaches said I wasn't quick enough and I wasn't strong enough, so I did have doubts. It put me down, but since then I've been able to motivate myself,” he added.

The honest admission will come as a shock to Gunners fans who have witnessed the Nigerian’s steady emergence into a key figure in the squad.

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

Iwobi made his debut for the club in a 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday last October and made his Premier League bow four days later as a substitute for Mesut Ozil against Swansea.

The Champions League came next, with the youngster appearing in the 5-1 drubbing at the hands of Bayern Munich, but it was his performance at the Nou Camp against Barcelona which begun to get him noticed.

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi shoots at goal

Iwobi was a surprise starter against the Spanish giants and impressed with his work-rate and dangerous play on the break despite the Gunners failing to win.

That night was the springboard for the rest of his campaign and he finished up the season with 21 appearances and two goals across all competitions.

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