13th April 2016: Ozil nominated + Iwobi on Okocha influence

Welcome to Wednesday on TremendArse. Arsenal may have blown their chances in the Premier League, both domestic cups, and the Champions League this season, but the consistently classy performances of one man haven’t gone unnoticed.

Mesut Ozil was today announced as one of six nominees for the PFA Player of the Year award and joins Dimitri Payet, Harry Kane and Leicester City trio Jamie Vardy, N’Golo Kante and Riyad Mahrez on the list.

Ozil’s chances of success are obviously very slim due to the fact the Foxes look very likely to win the title, meaning one of their players is surely favourite for the accolade, whilst Kane being the league’s top-scorer with 22 undoubtedly gives him an edge over our German assist-meister.

Yet with 6 goals and 18 assists from 30 Premier League appearances so far this season, it’s obvious Mesut fully deserves at least being in the mix for the award, which in itself must be particularly satisfying for both the player and his manager after he was widely branded a big-money flop in his first two seasons after arriving from Real Madrid in 2013.

Meanwhile, Aex Iwobi has revealed the advice he’s been receiving from his famous uncle – former football star Jay-Jay Okocha. The teenager told Arsenal Player:

Before that I didn’t even know he had Twitter!. All my friends were asking if I saw what my uncle had said so I checked it out. It is crazy and I’m just happy I’m making him proud and hopefully I will be even better than him. He was at the Watford game and the Barcelona game,” added Iwobi. “The fact he comes to watch shows it means a lot to him and he shows his support. It is good for me. [I get advice from him] almost weekly. He came to my house the other day. Unfortunately I missed him because I was here [at the training ground] but we do keep in contact a lot. He does tell me what I need to do and what I need to work on. He is always telling me that he knows a lot has happened and that I have come far, but he says to stay humble and that I will go far.

I’m not sure Alex is quite as naturally gifted as Okocha, because the latter had Ronaldinho-esque skill in his pomp, but I wouldn’t bet against Iwobi developing into a more consistently effective player.

Time will tell of course but our latest teen sensation clearly comes from good stock, seems to have a good head on his shoulders, is receiving some sound advice from those around him and could barely have made a more promising start to his professional career.

Iwobi also touched on his decision to play for the country of his birth, Nigeria, rather than represent England, where he’s grown up and made his name. He said:

It was a difficult decision picking Nigeria over England. England did contact me recently before I played my first competitive match for Nigeria, asking if I wanted to play for England. I’m very proud to represent Nigeria but I would like to say thank you to England for the chance they gave me, it was a difficult decision. The love Nigeria showed me… when I played for them in a friendly, the fans were just crazy. The fans almost eat you up because they love you so much. I’m enjoying playing for them. When you’re getting out of the airport there are fans already there screaming ‘Arsenal, Arsenal. Gunners for life!’ and it’s just mad. Some of them have Arsenal shirts and then others will ask me for Arsenal shirts. It’s a bit mad and the fans are crazy.

Right. That’s probably enough from Iwobi, at least until he’s banged in a hat-trick against Crystal Palace on Sunday anyway.

Arsene may hold his press conference tomorrow, or at least provide the official site with an injury update, so I’ll be back then as we start to look ahead to the game against the Eagles.


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