Femi Solaja
Former Super Eagles Captain, Austin Jay Jay Okocha, has hailed the performance of his nephew, Alex Iwobi, in Arsenal’s 3-1 defeat at Barcelona in the Champions League second leg, Round of 16 match at Camp Nou on Wednesday night.

With the Gunners facing obvious elimination against the Champions League holders after their first leg 2-0 defeat in London, manager Arsene Wenger, against expectations, opted to start 19-year-old Iwobi ahead of the pair of Theo Walcott and Joel Campbell.

The Nigeria international put in a good display in his 72 minutes on the pitch where he missed an opportunity to score and was also denied a penalty call.

In a tweet at the end of the game, Okocha said: “So happy watching Alex Iwobi (nephew) on the big stage. I’m very much impressed with his performance.”

The tweet was in contrast to his earlier one before the game when he said that he was torn between his nephew and the Catalan giants.

“Ready to watch my nephew Alex takes on my club Barcelona. Weird feeling, kind of torn apart,” he tweeted.

Iwobi has grown in leaps and bounds since making his debut for the Arsenal senior side this season.

He is listed in Super Eagles’ squad for next week’s Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double-header against Egypt where he will face his Gunners teammate, Mohamed Elneny who netted his first goal for the Londoners against Barcelona.

Iwobi joined Arsenal while still at primary school, and signed a new long-term contract in October 2015.

The Nigerian lad made his competitive debut for the club, some days later, starting in a 3-0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in the Round of 16 of the League Cup.

He made his Premier League debut same month later in a 3-0 win against Swansea City at the Liberty Stadium, as an added-time substitute for Mesut Özil.

Iwobi started in the first team for the 2015/2016 FA Cup 3rd and 4th round home wins against Sunderland and Burnley respectively.

After playing youth football for England, he made his senior debut for Nigeria on October 8, 2015, replacing Ahmed Musa in the 57th minute of a 2-0 friendly defeat to DR Congo in Visé, Belgium.