Alex Iwobi: I can ‘no longer make excuses’

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

Nigeria international Alex Iwobi has revealed why he can no longer make excuses for himself while playing for Everton under new manager Rafael Benitez.

The 25-year-old Super Eagle has managed 199 minutes under the former Liverpool boss and has scored one goal, provided one assist in seven appearances for the Toffees so far this campaign.

It is a better display from Iwobi, who joined Everton from Arsenal in 2019, and during his first season, he struggled to nail down playing time.

“I can see the improvement under the new manager because he’s vastly experienced and has worked with different players at major clubs,” Iwobi said as quoted by BBC Sport Africa.

“He came in and told me the part of my game that needs improvement, and so far I can see the progress and impact. When you work under someone who’s managed top players in his career, you have to listen because the gaffer has already seen things you are only just learning.”

Iwobi, who managed 15 goals in 149 games while playing for Arsenal, has admitted he will, however, need to step up his game to help keep up with the intensity of competition at the club this season.

“This is a different level with the new manager. Personally, you have to be honest with yourself and admit what part of your game must change to adapt,” Iwobi continued.

“I know the importance of having a consistent run at club level, so I have had to step up my game to compete here.”

On whether he is approaching his prime years at the right time, Iwobi said: “You are right that at 25 I can no longer make excuses for myself. Luckily, I am now working with someone who wants to bring the best out of the players at the club.

“You can see the difference and his touch across the squad. Personally, I’ve just got to keep taking those chances, keep making those runs, and hopefully, I’ll start putting them away on a regular basis.”

Iwobi began his career at Arsenal, making 149 appearances and scoring 15 goals, and winning the FA Cup in 2017 and in August 2019, he transferred to Everton for an initial £28 million fee.

He represented England up to U18 level but made his senior international debut for Nigeria in October 2015, and was part of their squads at the 2018 Fifa World Cup and the 2019 Africa Cup of Nations, coming out third at the latter.

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