The former Arsenal winger had it rough at Everton before the AFCON and was poor with Nigeria at the tournament
Super Eagles midfielder Alex Iwobi has detailed how giving his best in training helped convince Everton manager Frank Lampard that he could be counted on.
Iwobi had failed to nail down a first-team shirt or win the fans over since joining Everton after the Africa Cup of Nations in 2019.
The midfielder worked with various managers, including Marco Silva, Duncan Ferguson, Carlo Ancelotti, and Rafael Benitez, but never seemed to produce consistently decent performances.
The former Arsenal winger was still at the 2021 Afcon in Cameroon with Nigeria when Everton appointed Lampard as manager.
The Afcon did not end well for Iwobi as he was shown a red card against Tunisia as a ten-man Super Eagles were knocked out in the first knockout round.
Despite the disappointment of the recent past, Iwobi returned to Everton with a new motivation.
Better than most of his predecessors, Lampard has certainly managed to get the best out of Iwobi despite using him in multiple different positions.
And the versatile playmaker has lauded the former Chelsea manager and the rest of the club’s staff for helping him get the best version of himself out every time.
Iwobi told EvertonTV: “He (Lampard) got appointed while I was at AFCON, so when I got back I feel like he didn’t really know what to expect from me especially from what he’d seen under other managers, and after the red card at AFCON.
“But coming back, he said he was a bit surprised at how I train; I’m decent in training and always give 100%; it’s just about getting that out in matches. He told me to play the way I train and express myself, so he gave me that confidence.
“Ever since then, it’s been working out in different positions; I can’t say where my best position is! But he’s trialled me in different positions and it’s worked out.
“They’re [the staff] easy to talk to. Ashley Cole, Paul Clement, Joe Edwards – they’re all good not just to me but everyone. They make it feel like it’s one big family; it’s a nice feeling.”
Iwobi has completed the ninety minutes in all six of Everton’s Premier League matches this term, clocking one assist.
Goalkeeper Jordan Pickford, James Tarkowski, and Nathan Peterson are the only other Everton players to have earned as many minutes as Iwobi so far this term.