Arsenal starlet Alex Iwobi says he has no regrets over his decision to play for Nigeria instead of England and is hoping to play at the Olympics in Rio de Janeiro this summer.
Iwobi, 19, was born in Lagos but grew up in London and played for England’s youth teams up to the under-18 level before accepting a call-up to Nigeria’s senior team last year. He made his competitive debut for the national team against Egypt during the recent international break, ending any possibility of switching back to England.
The forward, who has starred for Arsenal with two straight man-of-the-match performances in his first two Premier League starts, saw his team knocked out of qualifying for the African Nations Cup Nations. But Iwobi, who is the nephew of former Nigeria star Jay-Jay Okocha, remains happy with his decision.
“I do not have any regrets whatsoever in opting to play for Nigeria and will always do my best whenever I put on the green-white colours of Nigeria,” he was quoted as saying by an online medium. “I hope to be involved in the forthcoming World Cup qualifiers too.
“I am very grateful to my teammates, the Nigeria Football Federation, coaches, the press and fans for the warm welcome I received following my decision to come home.
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.”
Iwobi only came on as a substitute for the qualifiers against Egypt but could play a bigger role at the Olympics, where the squads are largely made up of U23 players.
However, going to Brazil would rule him out of the start of the Premier League season. The Olympic tournament ends on Aug. 20, with the Premier League kicking off Aug. 13.
“I am looking forward to the forthcoming Olympics and if I am invited, I will do my best to make a meaningful contribution,” he added. “I believe that Nigeria has a crop of excellent players who are capable of doing great things at the Olympics.”