The Everton midfielder may be the nephew of Nigeria legend Austin Okocha but admits he seriously considered playing for the Three Lions
Alex Iwobi has confessed that England treated him so well as a youngster coming through the ranks, and that made the decision to switch his allegiance to Nigeria a difficult one.
The Arsenal academy graduate featured for England at the U-16, U-17 and U-18 levels before he opted to pursue his international career with the three-time African champions.
Iwobi made his debut for the Super Eagles in a friendly against DR Congo in 2015 and has since earned 40 international caps for the Gernot Rohr-led side.
The Everton star is grateful for the footballing education England provided him, but he felt he needed to play for Nigeria to remain connected to his roots.
“I will always have my respect for England, when I played for England they gave a great opportunity, they treat me very well,” said Iwobi on Instagram Live.
“However, I feel like I am a true Nigerian, I grew up in the Nigerian culture, and when I had the opportunity to go back, I felt more at home playing for Nigeria.
“I felt at home playing for England as well.”
“Of course it was difficult because I was very comfortable playing for England like it’s where I’ve grown up. I grew up in the English roots, so I knew how the system works.
“But when I had the opportunity to go, and trial for the (Nigeria) U23s is when I thought there was a lot of love for football – the way I was treated there – and these times I didn’t have the profile I had today. I was really excited to play for the U23s.
“Even though the organization may be a bit different to England, I really enjoy it. Even to this day, I have no regrets.”