Everton midfielder, Alex Iwobi, has expressed his appreciation of Arsenal manager Mikel Arteta for helping his development at the North London club.
Iwobi helped the Toffees defeat Arteta’s side 2-1 in Saturday’s outing at Goodison Park which stretched the visitors’ winless run to seven league matches.
Rob Holding turned the 24-year-old’s cross into the back of his own net in the 22nd minute and Yerry Mina restored Everton’s lead just before half-time, after Nicolas Pepe levelled from a spot-kick in the 35th minute.
Despite the Gunners’ poor run of results in the Premier League this season, Iwobi – who left the Emirates Stadium for Everton in August 2019 – remains grateful to his former coaches at the club, and Arteta, who played an influential role in his career.
“I wouldn’t be where I am today, so I’m forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me,” the Nigeria international told Sky Sports.
“I can look to everyone, Arsene Wenger, Unai Emery. Even current manager Mikel Arteta, when I was playing under-21s at the time, he was coming back from an injury and would be playing for us.
“There’s been a lot of people that have been able to help me.
“When I was breaking through, Arteta was still there and he was always helping – not just me, but any youngster – he made life easier when I was pushing through.”
Saturday’s home win fired Carlo Ancelotti’s side to second on the Premier League table while his former club Arsenal remain 15th on the table with 14 points from 14 matches.
This season, Iwobi has played varying roles for Everton, as a midfielder and as a wing-back, however, he highlighted their fighting spirit as a key attribute in their resurgence as they chase a spot in Europe.
“Obviously we had the quality with the ball and defensive qualities but I feel like, in particular, the fighting spirit in the team is what’s been standing out for us,” he added.