Arsenal's Alex Iwobi has transformed into a confident and capable attacker this season thanks to the guidance of manager Unai Emery, according to former Gunners striker Alan Smith.
Iwobi, 22, experienced a promising start to his career at the Emirates after being handed a route into the first team under former manager Arsene Wenger as a 19-year-old, only to see his development stall last season.
Smith believes Iwobi struggled with his decision making in the final third last term, but is now starting to fulfil his potential under new management and is showcasing unique attributes which will provide the Gunners with "something different" up top.
“It has been enlightening and heartening to watch Alex Iwobi shine this season," Smith told the Evening Standard. “Though not a regular Premier League starter, the youth product, by featuring in the cup competitions, has given us a glimpse of the promise first seen on initially emerging two years ago.
Have to say, Iwobi really seems to be benefitting from working with Emery. He's been bright and lively whenever he's played this season. Good to see. So much potential that needs releasing in him.— Charles Watts (@charles_watts) September 20, 2018
“Since then, however, Iwobi’s progress has stalled, leading to some Arsenal fans getting on his back.
"Ponderous in possession, first touch often heavy, you could see the uncertainty in everything he did. I wondered if he would ever bounce back to reach full potential.
“Lately, though, it has been the exact opposite. The 22-year-old looks powerful and positive with or without the ball, as if he understands his role. We hear he feels confident under Unai Emery, suggesting the new manager has devoted some time to improving the attacker.
“This all adds up to good news for the team as a whole, since Iwobi’s game can provide something different when Emery sees fit,” he added.
Iwobi has made four starts and scored one goal for Arsenal across their opening eight games, where the forward is expected to play a more prominent role for the club in both their League Cup and Europa League campaigns this season.