Football

Alex Iwobi a doubt for Everton’s Premier League trip to Manchester United

Alex Iwobi says his form has further benefitted from the intense battle between Everton’s forwards for a place in the starting XI.

Everton manager Rafael Benitez said he is unsure of Alex Iwobi’s availability for the Premier League fixture against Manchester United on Saturday.

Benitez, in his press conference on Friday, disclosed that the Nigeria international – who has played in every of their games so far this season – has a knock.

Iwobi played for 89 minutes in Everton’s 2-0 league win over Norwich City a week ago, and he has contributed just a goal with an assist in eight matches across all competitions this term.

“Alex has a little problem and I’m not sure if he’ll be available for tomorrow,” Benitez told the club’s website.

The update might be a worry for Nigeria after the former Arsenal youngster was included in Gernot Rohr’s 23-man squad for their 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying games against the Central African Republic next week.

Despite his poor goalscoring contribution, Benitez expressed satisfaction with Iwobi’s work ethic in training and he believes his impact will get better with time.

He added: “But I’m really pleased with the way he’s working and training. I think he’s improving and he’s enjoying that. We can improve him more because he’s working so hard – he can be a much better player by the end of the season.”

Everton are fifth on the Premier League table with 13 points from six matches, having drawn just one game (vs. Leeds United) and lost one (vs. Aston Villa).

A few weeks ago, Iwobi lauded the former Liverpool coach for helping him improve this campaign with his advice and regular support.

“The manager is always talking to me and trying to help me. It’s helped me a lot so far this season,” the 25-year-old said.

“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, like 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].”

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