Arsenal's Alex Iwobi, now established in Arsène Wenger's first-team squad, told UEFA.com that the UEFA Youth League shaped his development, saying it "taught me quite a bit".
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Alex Iwobi knows a thing or two about the UEFA Youth League.
The forward featured in the first three editions of the Under-19 continental tournament before becoming a full international for Nigeria in October 2015 and establishing himself in Arsenal's senior squad in the second half of last season, when he made his first UEFA Champions League start in the round of 16 against Barcelona.
It is perhaps no surprise then that the 20-year-old credits the competition with accelerating his transition from promising youth-team talent to key component of the Gunners' assault on domestic and European honours.
UEFA Youth League games/goals: 15/4
Debut: 18 September 2013 v Marseille
Last appearance: 24 November 2015 v Dinamo Zagreb
On how the UEFA Youth League shaped his development ...
"It taught me quite a bit because you're not only playing against English teams, you're playing against foreign teams and you're learning their tactics and how they play.
"It was such an experience for me because when I stepped into the first team it almost felt the same, even though the level is a bit higher. There's the same organisation, the preparations are almost the same, so it did prepare me for when I was involved with the first team."
On how the competition readies players for the potential step up to the UEFA Champions League ...
"It certainly helps – it helped me and I'm sure it helps other players to feel like they're in the Champions League, even though it's just youth level. It's still a very high competition. And for us at Under-19 level, the games are very hard and you do learn. It's always a learning experience for the youngsters."