Few players in the entire Premier League have had as remarkable a turnaround in 2022 as Alex Iwobi. Ever since Frank Lampard joined Everton right at the end of the January transfer window, the Nigerian international has been excellent wherever the manager has placed him on the pitch.
It’s not an understatement to say that a big reason for Everton surviving the drop last season was Iwobi’s versatility and workrate. Previous to Lampard’s arrival it was widely expected that the former Arsenal star would likely be headed elsewhere this summer to try to jumpstart the immense potential he showed when he was in London. However, at this point his name is one of the first that goes on a matchday team sheet and that has come from consistently high-quality performances that have Evertonians giddy with excitement.
During his pre-match press conference earlier today, it was pointed out to Lampard that Iwobi has now picked up three assists in the last four league games, matching his total from the previous 87 games for the Toffees, so what’s changed for the midfielder?
“Since I’ve been here he hasn’t changed. He has been a fantastic player for me in whatever position I played him in last year.
“In the summer I gave pause for thought and how we construct the team as you move forward, and I wanted to move Alex into a more central position regularly — to finish the season he was a wingback at times — because I just felt it would really suit his attributes.
“Then it’s down to him. Of course having a good team structure really helps any player, but it’s been down to him. I’m just delighted he’s getting the recognition he deserves as being one of the top midfield players in the Premier League at the moment. That’s how I feel about him.”
On areas Iwobi can continue to improve, Lampard had some ideas.
“Can he add more to his game? Yes. In and around the final third he can do more because his talent says so. In-game he can do more, he can assist more, maybe score himself a bit more, but I’m not complaining there, he’s been fantastic for us.”
Iwobi’s current expected goal contributions (xG90+xA90) is at 0.15 this season, the lowest since he joined the Blues (19/20 - 0.26, 20/21 - 0.18, 21/22 - 0.24) so Lampard is certainly onto something. Getting Dominic Calvert-Lewin as well as Everton’s play in the final third continuing to develop will certainly make a difference too, not only to Iwobi’s numbers but the team’s attacking output as a whole.