Frank Lampard may have left Everton in dire straits and struggling for safety in the Premier League, but Nigeria national football team midfielder Alex Iwobi remains grateful to him for helping to turn his fortunes around.
Iwobi joined the Toffees in 2019 after growing up in Arsenal’s academy and spending the first four years of his senior professional career at the Emirates. His move to Goodison Park looked like a mistake under former manager Rafael Benitez until Lampard came along in the 2021/22 season.
The Super Eagles’ midfielder is now a key player for the side as a result.
🤩 Alex Iwobi in the Premier League this season:
🏹 Shots – 41
⚽ Goals – 2
🔐 Key passes – 62
🅰️ Assists – 7
🤤 Dribbles – 53
🦶 Touches – 2005
💪 Tackles – 69
🧠 Interceptions – 25
🌡️ WS Rating – 6.82 pic.twitter.com/bJJh9Uj8EG
— WhoScored.com (@WhoScored) May 25, 2023
Lampard Moved Me Back into Midfield; Saved Me From Loan Spell, Says Iwobi
The AFCON 2023 Nigeria Super Eagles squad hopeful is currently one of the shining lights in an Everton team that looks lost. He has had a few bad games just like every player but the Toffees would have long been relegated if not for his efforts in chance creation that have earned him eight Premier League assists to top Everton’s assists charts this season.
The next best assister is top scorer Dwight McNeil, who is on three assists to add to his seven goals for the Merseyside outfit in the league this season, putting both him and Iwobi on the same number of goal contributions.
Most of Iwobi’s efforts have come with him playing in the central midfield position, where he is most comfortable. This would not have been the case if Lampard did not come in, as the Super Eagles’ number 18 revealed to the Filthy Fellas Podcast.
1 Last Push! pic.twitter.com/O3lvmKyGuP
— Alexander Iwobi (@alexiwobi) May 20, 2023
Under Benitez, Iwobi was forced to play left back. Lampard came and moved him back into the middle of the park, comparing him to Chelsea midfielder Mateo Kovacic. The 27-year-old, who is expected to be a part of Nigeria’s next AFCON 2023 qualifiers fixtures, said: “I came off a red card in AFCON in January, and I was told that I would have to go on loan. It was mad.
“Then Lampard came in, I put in my best in training as usual. My first game was against Brentford, it was a cameo and I managed to get an assist because Andros Townsend scored a good goal.
“The next game was against Leeds United, I started, and I did well. Then later in training, he compared me to Kovacic because he is the kind of player that likes to turn and run with the ball, and I used to do that in training.”
Iwobi – I thrived After Lampard Put Me Back in Midfield
Iwobi then stated that while he would be used in defence occasionally, he started to thrive again when he was returned to his preferred position.
“Then he said he wanted to experiment with me in midfield, and I said I was okay with it. He tried it and it worked,” the midfielder said. “I started to thrive off that. But there were times when I had to switch to the wide positions because of injuries to other players.”
Iwobi also took some time to praise Everton’s injured captain Seamus Coleman for his motivational efforts in the team’s relegation battle in the Premier League.
Alex Iwobi interview in the Telegraph pic.twitter.com/fOnU9nV7UK
— Alan Myers (@ALANMYERSMEDIA) May 26, 2023
“Seamus is always reminding us how so many people are affected by our results and what it means to Evertonians, to him, the people upstairs, the staff and what it should mean to us. He always reminds us that the least we can do is put 100 per cent in,” Iwobi said.
This article was most recently revised and updated 9 months ago