4 ways Super Eagles can maximise Alex Iwobi’s talents

4 ways Super Eagles can maximise Alex Iwobi’s talents
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Super Eagles midfielder Alex Iwobi came under plenty of stick despite his graft at AFCON 2023, where Nigeria finished as losing finalists to hosts Ivory Coast.

The former Arsenal midfielder has had a prolific 2023/24 season with Fulham and has beaten some of his previous EPL records with the London club.

Iwobi scored again this weekend as Fulham lost 2-1 to Wolves as he set a new personal scoring record in the EPL.

His previous best in the EPL was during the 2018/19 season, where he scored three goals in 35 league appearances.

That season also was his most prolific, as he netted six goals and nine assists from 51 appearances in all competitions. He has equalled his goal-scoring record this season, with six goals in 25 games across all competitions.

The Super Eagles star who endured cyberbullying following the loss to Ivory Coast at the AFCON 2023 final is back online.

Why is Iwobi delivering for Fulham but not for the Super Eagles? Here are a few ways we feel the Super Eagles can maximize the player's talent.

Iwobi is no Austin Okocha

Alex Iwobi cannot replace austin okocha for the super eagles
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Since the retirement of Austin Jay Jay Okocha from the Super Eagles, Nigeria has been shopping for a replacement.

Fans have been looking forward to when the team would have a player in that mould – who can dribble and mesmerize opponents like Jay Jay did.

The arrival of Iwobi was seen as such, especially as he was a nephew to Jay Jay. Their playing styles are different. Nigerians must understand this fact and not see him as an Okocha regen.

Iwobi is back in scoring form and banging in goals for Fulham, but when fans of the Super Eagles come to terms with this, they will begin to appreciate his talent.

Stop playing Iwobi too deep

Alex Iwobi is no Austin Okocha for the Super Eagles
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At AFCON 2023, Jose Peseiro played Iwobi too deep. Perhaps because of his playmaking skills, Peseiro wanted to play him as a deep-lying playmaker.

It took away plenty of his sting and pushed him further from where he could be dangerous. He put in so much graft that the few times he found himself close to the opponent's goal area, he had lost his rhythm.

By the time Nigeria reached AFCON 2023 final, the former Everton player was fagged out, playing in an unfamiliar role.

With a couple of friendlies lined up for the Super Eagles this month, a new coach will do well to stop playing him deep.

The Super Eagles will get the best of Iwobi by playing him like Bellingham

Iwobi has played in different positions at the three Premier League clubs he has featured for, but it seems the one that suits him more is playing behind the striker in a free role.

At Real Madrid, Jude Bellingham plays behind the two forwards. In that way, he can influence the play closer to the opponent's goal.

Iwobi has played an almost identical role at Fulham, and Marco Silva has gotten the best out of him. He has scored six EPL goals this term and has one assist.

The former Arsenal midfielder is in line to hit double figures for the first time.

The player once stated that his best position is an eight or 10.

Give Iwobi a free role

Alex Iwobi deserves a free role in the Super Eagles
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Confining the abilities of Iwobi, who is gifted technically and a good passer of the ball, limits him.

The Super Eagles lacked central creativity at AFCON 2023 because Peseiro expected Iwobi and Onyeka to graft in the middle.

To get the former Everton player ticking for the Super Eagles, the new coach of the team must give him a free role. It will allow his creative juices to flow.

A free role will also allow him to dictate the flow of play for the team.

Conclusion

The Super Eagles have several problems that will militate against getting the best of Iwobi. A new coach will have to find a balance to cover for some of their flaws.

Finding that balance may work against the productivity of the player for the team.

This article was most recently revised and updated 1 month ago

Chooka Izuegbuna is a Sports Journalist with 20 years of experience in print, TV and Radio. He has worked with some of the top media houses in Nigeria, including NTA Network, Channels TV, TVC, Silverbird TV and MITV. Chooka broke his sports reporting teeth with The Game Football Weekly in 2003 as a cartoonist and reporter.