Ex-Super Eagles star Victor Ikpeba has hailed Arsene Wenger for helping him nurture his talents in football, Concise News reports.
Ikpeba who won the African footballer of the year and an Atlanta Olympic gold medalist described Wenger as exceptionally gifted in grooming people.
The Nigerian played under Wenger at Monaco in the Ligue 1 where he struck 55 times in 170 games in all competitions.
According to Ikpeba, it was a delight to play under the former Arsenal man who he said was instrumental to him bagging the African Footballer of the Year.
“I will say from my heart, thanks to Wenger (Arsene) you know,” Ikpeba told Brila FM.
“He gave me that opportunity to play in AS Monaco, maybe I wouldn’t have been the African footballer of the year, maybe, I might never have had the opportunity to be with the team that went to the 1994 World Cup also the team that won the Olympics.
“So, I’m really grateful for that man; he’s a good man and a good human being. And I’m sure he’s missing football right now, I think he’s done his own bit.”
Ex-Arsenal Player Goes Green
Meanwhile, a former Arsenal star Chuba Akpom has said he wants to play for the Super Eagles of Nigeria even though he can feature for the Three Lions of England.
Akpom, 23, whose parents are Nigerians, has featured for the England team at youth levels but said only paperwork is stopping him from playing for the West Africans.
According to the PAOK FC star, the paperwork will soon be done and his dream of playing for Nigeria will come to pass.
“I’ve only just recently switched my allegiance, so I’ve signed the documents and hopefully in the next few weeks it will be approved to enable me play for Nigeria,” Akpom told BBC Sports.
“I’ve been wanting to do that for many years now but not many people know this. It’s just been a matter of sorting it out, which is now in a process. I’m looking forward to it.
“It was a personal decision. I’m Nigerian and my whole family feel very Nigerian and it will be nice to represent Nigeria.”
He added that it will be a great opportunity to play again with a former Arsenal star Alex Iwobi who is now with Everton.
“It will also be nice to link up with Alex [Iwobi] again and play for the national team,” he said.
“We started playing when we was younger together and to make that step to play for the national team together will be amazing.
“I wasn’t surprised because at the time he wasn’t playing for England, he came out of nowhere and he started playing for Arsenal and from there he just progressed, so I wasn’t surprised when he picked to play for Nigeria.”
According to him, “It was the better decision to make, now he’s played in the World Cup and the Africa Cup of Nations. I’ve always said that I’d like to play with him again for Nigeria, we’ve always spoke about that.
“We’ve played together since we was five and six years old, we grew up together. It took me a while to settle down and to get used to the environment in Greece.
“Going to play abroad and in another league has helped me, but I hope to take my career to the next level with Nigeria.”