Alex Iwobi revealed he was almost not going to be an Arsenal player, when as a 14-year-old his Hale End scholarship was delayed as the club questioned his ability.
Iwobi, who recently signed a 4-year extension that will keep him at the London club until 2022, is one of a handful of academy graduates still in the Gunner’s senior team.
In chronicle of his formative years at the club, Iwobi said twice had his future at Arsenal been in doubt, but also considers himself lucky for the opportunity to represent a club that “have always been one of the best in the world”.
Speaking of his days at Hale End – Arsenal’s academy – the 22-year-old forward said that, ” I was almost released at 14 and again at 16.
“We usually found out in December who might be kept on but I kept on getting the question, ‘Is he good enough?’ So they extended it to see if I could do something and it went to March and then April. Luckily I did enough,” Iwobi explained.
“Then at 16 I had the option to leave but I always felt at home at Arsenal and that was where I wanted to be. At 16, there were a lot of good players, a few internationals in the team at a young age so it was difficult for me to stand out.
“They always want the best and I wasn’t really up there at that age. The fact that I kept getting chances made me feel lucky, so I couldn’t believe it when I was given a scholarship.”