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Bent Backs Iwobi To Overcome Everton Struggles

Bent Backs Iwobi To Overcome Everton Struggles

Former Everton striker Marcus Bent has lent his support to Alex Iwobi following his difficult spell with the Toffees.

The Nigerian made the switch in the summer of 2019 from Arsenal in a £34million deal, but has struggled to become a regular during his time at Goodison Park.

Iwobi has started just 17 of Everton’s 36 Premier League games this season, managing just one goal and two assists, with no goal contributions since Christmas.

The former Gunners attacker was an unused substitute for the third time in the Merseyside outfit’s previous top-flight fixtures as they were shockingly beaten 1-0 at home by already-relegated Sheffield United at Goodison Park on Sunday evening.

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The attacker, who reportedly earns £50,000-a-week, turned 25 earlier this month and has already racked up over 200 career appearances, more than 150 of which have come in the Premier League, but is yet to really make his mark for the Toffees, if truth be told.

But Bent told This Is Futbol that Iwobi still needs time to find his feet on Merseyside, in order to win Carlo Ancelotti over.

“We can talk about James McFadden and Kevin Kilbane, both of them struggled when they first came in back in the day.

“Coming from Arsenal to Everton is far from home – the culture in a sense, I have learned that on my journey, being away from family and friends.

“He’s only been there nearly two seasons. He’s struggled in a sense the technical side of his and Everton’s side of football, but I think he can come good with time.”

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  • – – – – Rerun – – – –

    Iwobi:Star in International Colours;
    _ Enigma in Club Football. Why?_

    Super Eagles star midfielder Alex Iwobi has undoubtedly improved on his performances from last season, more so earlier in the year when he grasped the nettle to offer pristine play across several positions for Everton.

    However, towards the dying embers of this campaign, the 2019 Afcon bronze medalist has come under the spotlight with displays that were generally seen as average at best and sub-par at worst. In Everton’s last 16 games – 4 of which he was benched and 1 in which he was omitted from the match day squad altogether – Iwobi tried hard to hit recent dizzy heights with mild to moderate successes, if any at all.

    He has lately found goals, assists and pre-assists to be scarce commodities in club football.

    However, the high-water mark of Iwobi’s overall productivity this season was his admirable show of versatility that now shines a favourable light on an aspect of his game hitherto hidden from view. It must have felt like trial by fire in November 2020 when Ancelloti asked Iwobi to play wingback against Fulham at Craven Cottage. It was a trial in which Iwobi acquitted himself with aplomb without even needing the services of a solicitor.

    He would go on in subsequent games to establish himself across different formations (3-4-3, 4-3-3 and even the traditional 4-2-2) in multiple positions, sometimes switching positions seamlessly within games. His application in those games had this sumptuous savoir faire about it.

    Men! I loved Iwobi’s output at this time as I would be glued to my telly watching what seemed to me at the time was the rebirth of a potential Premier League legend.

    Unfortunately, a whole 17 games after he last found the back of the net against Wolves on January 12, things appear to have steadily gone south for Iwobi and I just can’t put my fingers on why.

    In my view, he was at his elements mid-season when playing multiple positions. But, curiously, coach Ancelloti appears to blame his own constant formation changes as a factor for Iwobi’s drop in form.

    “In other games I tried to change a little bit the strategy…it didn’t work well but not for Iwobi’s fault,” said Ancelloti who in the same statement praised Iwobi’s overall contributions.

    But with just 1 goal and 2 assists across 28 league games this season, Iwobi is on track to potentially be named among the yo-yo players of the 20/21 English league season having made the Premier League top 11 flop signings of last season (following his move from Arsenal with a slew of Gunners’ fans only too happy to see the back of him) .

    But Nigeria fans don’t care, why should we? After all, this same season, the same Iwobi already has 2 goals in 4 appearances for the Super Eagles. What is utterly astonishing is that in the last 2 seasons, Iwobi has scored more goals in far fewer matches for Nigeria in international football than for Everton in the English Premier League matches: 2 goals in 53 league matches for Everton and 3 goals across just 9 games for the Super Eagles in the same period.

    This antithesis or should I use the word dichotomy is difficult for me to explain. Little wonder Iwobi fans would bite your head off at the slightest form of criticism directed his way (however subtle or well intentioned it may be)!

    When playing for the national team, Iwobi is always one with Nigeria and Nigerian fans will forever be one with him. He plays with freedom, verve and boundless energy that unleash superior performance which in turn attain dependable results for us.

    If he were to retire today, Iwobi has done enough (in many quarters) to be regarded as a Nigeria legend. If he were to retire from club football at the same time, I doubt if international club football observers would see him in such glowing splendour.

    And I think that is something Iwobi himself will be eager to put right. The former Arsenal man would not want to be remembered as an average-bordering-on-mediocre club player who displayed chronic inconsistency in his (club) playing days in the English Premier League

    Far from it. Iwobi will want to go down as an English Premier League legend. And I believe he has it in him in abundance, after all, his skills, attributes, attitude and hunger have never been in doubt.

    These same elements have produced a cult following for Iwobi in national team football, it is now time this is recreated in club football (consistently).

    Funnily, we always pray for players to replicate their club form in national colours. In Iwobi, the reverse is the case!

  • Dr. Drey 4 weeks ago

    At 25 and with over 200 top flight appearances, Iwobi should know that he is no longer a small boy in this game of football and hence should now start attaching some seriousness and unapologetic affirmation to his game, viz his footballing career. He has shown with a national team as big as that of Nigeria that he can shoulder responsibilities, hence should opt for clubs that will be willing to trust and respect him. Even if he has to move out of England/EPL so be it. But I think at this age, he is already nearing his peak and should avoid waiting too late to take his career seriously. That was also his uncle’s undoing. I’ld rather have Alex as the undisputed no 10 of Lille, Wolfburg, Valencia, Benfica than have him playing all sorts of ad-hoc positions at Everton. As a matter of fact I don’t think his style of play is best suited for or appreciated by the English premiership.

    • GLORY 4 weeks ago

      You are always a joy to read @ Drey; majorly on the ground of your very sound reasoning. Such reasoning only found amongst less than 5% of the entire Nigerian populace, hence always will be attacked. GENERAL OPINION HAS NEVER PROVEN TO BE RIGHT BUT ALWAYS POLITICALLY SKEWED.

    • Dr. Drey 4 weeks ago

      Much appreciation to you too @Glory. The truth that has to be said has to be said, no matter whose ox is gored. If you lie you die, if you say the truth you die, so why not say the truth, verifiable and validate-able with facts and figures, and die. Its more honourable that way. So anyone who wants to kill Dr.Drey for saying the truth is free to go ahead. Who come this world wey no go die before…?!