Alex Iwobi has had an incredible series of performances in the last few months of the season. For someone who has been criticized before even kicking the ball for the Evertonians, now he’s one of the most cogent players of the Meryside team.
It’s fair to say that it has taken the former Arsenal man a long time to shut the critics up following his move to Goodison park in 2019.
The £35 million paid for Alex in 2019 was one of the ropes they hung him with. At the start of the season, Everton fans were booing the players for their performance and most notably, Alex Iwobi.
A prominient Everton fan, Tony Scott reacting to Everton 5-2 loss to Watford in October, 2021 after Iwobi was subbed on for Anthony Gordon said “Anthony Gordon was one of our better players and the replacement [Alex Iwobi] you bring him on for is not good enough for Everton football club.”
Sporting outlet, thisisfutbal also commented on Iwobi’s performances in October 2021 terming the decision of Everton to buy him from Arsenal “bizarre” . They said “At the time it was a bizarre decision from Everton to sign Iwobi for such a hefty transfer fee given that his best-attacking return in a single season was three goals and six assists for Arsenal and now, given his dire performances in front of goal at Goodison Park it appears to be yet another huge waste of money by the club.”
As if these critics was not enough, Alex Iwobi represented Nigeria in the African Cup of Nations 2022 and had one of the worst moment of his footballing career. Just like almost every other match in the AFCON, he had come on to the game from bench, but this time in the knockout stages against Tunisia he was given his marching orders by the referee. He had only been in the game for 5 minutes and he was shown a red card after he stamped on Msnaki’s shin while trying to control the pass from Wilfried Ndidi. Nigeria lost the game 1-0 and were surprisingly knocked out of the tournament.
The 26-year-old also missed the world cup qualifiers game against Ghana due to suspension. Therefore, he couldn’t help his county tame the Ghanians and qualify for the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
After months of nerve-shredding tension, extreme criticism, doubt and poor performance, Iwobi can finally breathe easy as he is now labelled one of the most important players in the Everton team and the Evertonians absolutely love him now.
Frank Lampard has found a way to get the best out of him and Iwobi is beginning to prove his doubters wrong. Iwobi’s vital goal for 10-man Everton in the 1-0 victory over Newcastle at Goodison in March was one of the focal point in his remarkable turnaround.
It looks like Alex Iwobi playing in his preferred natural position as a playmaker has been of big help, even though when called upon for his versatility attribute, he has delivered like when he played as right wing back against Chelsea which helped Everton track Alonso’s run. The switch to his natural position and increased confidence is key to the Super Eagle resurgence.
In a recent club programme, Anthony Gordon, Seaamus Coleman, Ben Godfrey, Mason Holgate and Demarai Gray all praised Alex Iwobi as the most skillful player in the squad.
Anthony Gordon said “Alex Iwobi. He’s very sharp and his combinations play is very good. He does some crazy skills too!” Ben Godfrey added that ” Alex Iwobi. It’s like street football” and Mason Holgate saying “He’s got mad feet”
Everton Skipper, Seamus Coleman also admitted that “In training, he’s full of stepovers and Cryuff turns. He’s very difficult to get the ball off.”
However, it is not only his on-the ball performance that has been responsible for the resurgence, his off-the ball performance and athleticism has played a key role. He is always constantly chasing the ball down and pressing opponents to win possession.
Iwobi’s positive attitude and positive energy around him has helped him onto better things. From being sent off in Super Eagles AFCON loss, missing an important World Cup Qualification Playoffs due to suspension, being involved in relegation battle, booed and hated by Evertonians to a new chapter of being the Everton fans favourite, surviving relegation battle, recalled to the national team.
It is indeed a new chapter for the 26-year-old Super Eagles playmaker.