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Arsene Wenger hails exciting Arsenal youngster after strong Sunderland performance

PUBLISHED: 17:42 09 January 2016 | UPDATED: 17:42 09 January 2016

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi (John Walton/PA Wire)

Arsenal's Alex Iwobi (John Walton/PA Wire)

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Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger praised Alex Iwobi’s performance in the FA Cup Third Round tie against Sunderland.

The Nigerian 19-year-old was handed a rare opportunity to start for the Gunners’ first team in the centre of midfield as Wenger rested a number of key men for the cup clash at the Emirates Stadium.

Iwobi made a strong start to the game, confidently driving forward with the ball whenever he picked it up in the final third and he was given a standing ovation from the home supperters when he was taken on off in the second half.

The nephew of former Nigeria and Bolton captain Jay-Jay Okocha, Iwobi is rated highly at Arsenal and is considered one of the most promising prospects in the club’s youth ranks.

Wenger praised the youngster after the game, particularly for his accurate passing in the centre of midfield.

“Alex Iwobi was one of the guys who was very good in the first half but tired a little bit in the second,” Wenger said.

“Overall he did well. I liked the timing of his passes and in the middle of the park that’s a vital quality.

“He plays forward, sees the pitch and isn’t afraid to take people on. For a young boy that’s not easy.”

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