Arsene Wenger has challenged Alex Iwobi to add finishing to his game. The Nigerian international has only scored twice for Arsenal in his career, but his incisive movement often means he has a few opportunities in front of goal per game.
On Tuesday, Iwobi was presented with an excellent opportunity to put Arsenal further ahead of Reading. Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain saw his shot saved by Ali Al-Habsi and the ball fell to Iwobi. Unfortunately he wasn’t able to capitalize off the rebound as the ball got stuck under his foot mid-shot. Wenger believes nerves cause missed opportunities like that. “He is too nervous at the moment when he has the possibility to finish.”
However, the manager wasn’t being critical of his young player. Wenger praised the way Iwobi has developed – making it clear that Iwobi is a unique player. Finishing would make Iwobi a complete player.
“He is not a typical winger and I think the can play in the No10 role. He turns the game forward, he passes the ball through the lines very well, he has a final ball in him. I think he has all in the locker to pass and give the final ball. What you want from him now is the finishing – that’s still a part that is missing in his game.”
At age 20, Iwobi has time on his side. Finishing is often a skill that improves with age and experience. Finishing is as much technical as it is mental. Iwobi has exceptional technical skills and has showed mental toughness to become a vital first team player at such a young age. The fact that Wenger trusted him in the starting eleven against Barcelona at the Camp Now in the Champions League last year, speaks highly of Iwobi’s mentality.
With all of requisite technical ability, and a history of mental fortitude, Iwobi can only improve from here.