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‘I use Chuba as an inspiration’

Alex Iwobi says watching Chuba Akpom’s development inspires him to become an even better player.

The Arsenal duo went to primary school together and joined the academy at under-9 level, before both featured for the first team in pre-season 11 years later.

With Akpom now on loan at Hull City and having scored two goals in his first two games, Iwobi could not be happier for his childhood friend.

"I remember playing for a Sunday team together and it was basically us two and then the other team-mates would help, but we were the main players"

Alex Iwobi

“I don’t remember when we first met because we go way back, since the age of four,” he told Arsenal Player. “I remember playing for a Sunday team together and it was basically us two and then the other team-mates would help, but we were the main players.

“We grew up together so we’ve been going through the same things, but also he’s been progressing more so I use him as an inspiration. He lets me know what he’s going through so that I can prepare for it. Watching him grow and become what he is right now is so good to see."

“I was happy for him [to join Hull City on loan],” added Iwobi. “I was speaking with his family and I could see that he was really happy to go on loan because he just wants to get some minutes and prove a point. Hopefully Hull will be the team for him.”

Former youth-team players Jack Wilshere and Francis Coquelin were regulars for Arsenal last season, and Iwobi believes their careers can inspire the club's youngsters at Hale End.

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“It’s clear for them to see that it’s possible,” the forward said. “It shows that if you keep on working hard from a young age it’s possible to make it into the first team.

“[Arsenal’s academy is so successful because of] the training, the coaching, the staff, the facilities. I never say everything’s perfect but Arsenal’s training ground really is perfect.”

Jack, Alex and Chuba's shirts ahead of the Singapore XI friendly

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