Arsenal attacker, Alex Iwobi is bound to have a busy future playing as Nigeria’s full time playmaker in years to come, as he kept his role in midfield for the Super Eagles clash away to Libya, footballlive.ng reports.
Just as it was for the first leg in Uyo, when Iwobi was unleashed on The Mediterranean Knights in a novel position, but made the best of it by creating a goal and adding and assist, The Gunners’ former under-21 team captain got a second chance to excel on Tuesday.
Iwobi had always reiterated his desire to play in an advanced midfield position, while also anticipating to get the Eagles’ number 10 jersey, once current captain, John Mikel Obi retires.
He only stopped short of crying publicly about his discontent when made to play on the left wing at the World Cup, where he had a woeful debut against Croatia in Nigeria’s 2-0 loss.
A poor run at Russia 2018 turned into resurgence of form for Iwobi back at Arsenal, where he became ‘the nutmeg prince’ with sterling outings against Qarabag in the UEFA Europa League and Fulham in the English Premier League.
Iwobi’s dazzling performances in both matches must have inspired Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr to try him out as a playmaker against Libya in Uyo, and he did not disappoint.
Subsequently, Iwobi became one of many who retained their starting spots from Saturday’s heavy win for the reverse fixture on Tuesday in Sfax.
Missing out, though, was Shehu Abdullahi, who started in the first tie but had to be replaced after copping an early injury.
Consequently, the full back who stepped in then, Ola Aina got a starting role in Tuesday’s game at right full back while Rotherham United of England defender, Semi Ajayi got to the bench after missing out in Uyo.
Rohr also retained his new 4-2-3-1 formation, like the tie they won 4-0 over the weekend, as he went out in search of an early spot at next year’s Africa Cup of Nations in Cameroon.
Eagles starting XI (4-2-3-1) – Francis Uzoho – Jamilu Collins, Ola Aina, Leon Balogun, William Ekong – Wilfred Ndidi, Oghanekaro Etebo – Ahmed Musa (captain), Alex Iwobi, Samuel Kalu – Odion Ighalo.