Two years since moving to Everton and Alex Iwobi continues to divide opinion on Merseyside.
Alex Iwobi: Has the Everton playmaker spotted his greatest weakness?
The attacking midfielder enjoys a good relationship with Rafael Benitez and believes he must improve his final third contribution.
The former Arsenal man moved in August 2019 after around 15 years in North London for an initial fee believed to be around £28 million, possibly rising to £34 million. Already in his third year after playing under three permanent head coaches, the Nigerian has had to adapt to different situations in the first two years at Finch Farm.
In a recent interview with Everton TV, the Super Eagle believes he must begin to score more goals if he’s to take his game to the next level and revealed his relationship with current boss Rafael Benitez.
“The manager is always talking to me and trying to help me,” Iwobi told the club’s channel.
“It's helped me a lot so far this season. It’s not just me, of course, but the whole team [he speaks to]. My confidence is playing a big part, too. I’m pushing a bit more up the field and getting involved in attacks.
“I just need to add more goals and assists, as the manager wants. With the manager, he doesn’t give us any rest, he’s onto us 24/7. This is what we need.
“You can see everyone’s playing with a lot of confidence. That big motivation is there [to continue achieving positive results].
“We’ve started very well, but we have to keep going until the end. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”
In a sense, you agree the West African must improve his productivity. Two Premier League goals and three assists since moving to Everton clearly isn’t what the Toffees signed up for and improved numbers are imperative if Iwobi’s to keep his place on Merseyside.
Despite a low return in goals and assists, the Nigeria star has impressed Benitez and the Everton boss has extolled the player’s other qualities.
“I want to say, also, how much I liked the character and determination of Alex Iwobi when he was hurt against Huddersfield but stayed on the pitch to help his teammates,” Benitez told the club’s official website.
“Tom Davies, too, had a problem in his quadriceps but kept working so hard.”
After that 2-1 League Cup success against the Terriers in August, the Spanish boss equally praised the 25-year-old’s commitment.
“I think [Iwobi] did a great job and was showing his commitment,” the Everton boss said after his team advanced in the Carabao Cup.
“He was feeling a little bit tight in his abductor," Benitez said following the Toffees’ success against the Terriers.
“We have to assess him, but the main thing is, you can see he was limping, but he was still working very hard.”
Everton have started the new season in fine form, scoring goals and conceding little under their new trainer. Iwobi seems to have gained his manager’s trust, but will he add goals and assists to validate that belief in his character and ability?
Seye Omidiora is a passionate football writer and pundit whose deep appreciation for the beautiful game exceeds the usual. He is currently a columnist for Goal Africa and has previously written for Vital Football UK, IBCity Info and Opera News.
Pulse Contributors is an initiative to highlight diverse journalistic voices. Pulse Contributors do not represent the company Pulse and contribute on their own behalf.
JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!
Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or: