HomeNigerian Footballers Abroad

Iwobi: My Game Has Improved Under Benitez

Iwobi: My Game Has Improved Under Benitez

Alex Iwobi says his game has improved under new Everton manager Rafael Benitez, Completesports.com reports.

Iwobi has struggled to impress since linking up with the Toffees from Arsenal in 2019.


The Nigeria international seems to be back to his best under Benitez and has a goal and an assist in seven appearances across all competitions for the club.

“I can see the improvement under the new manager because he’s vastly experienced and has worked with different players at major clubs,” Iwobi told 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 came through the ranks at the Gunners, scoring 15 goals in 149 games, but the following chapter of his career at Everton, under first Marco Silva and then Carlos Ancelotti, has not gone as hoped.

Read Also: Carabao Cup: Lookman Beats Iheanacho To Leicester’s MOTM Award 

Mega Millions Naija

The 25-year-old admits he has had to “step up” his game this season as the intensity at the club has risen to a higher level than he’s experienced before in his career.

“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,” he said.

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

Iwobi, who has nearly 160 Premier League appearances under his belt along with 26 games in European competition, is approaching his prime years.

“You are right that at 25 I can no longer make excuses for myself,” he added. “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.”

Copyright © 2021 Completesports.com All rights reserved. The information contained in Completesports.com may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without the prior written authority of Completesports.com.



  • Olusegun.B. 1 year ago

    Alex is still a work in progress.

  • walking 1 year ago

    How have you improved guy.

    You still look very shy on the ball, and so much is expected from you.

    Spend extra time in training please.

  • Alex Iwobi, with 1 assist to his name this season across 5 games, stated in the article above that his game has improved this season under former Liverpool coach Rafa Benitez.

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

    Coincidentally, in his first 5 games last season, he produced identical output of 1 assist. In the season before then, he actually had 1 goal and 1 assist in his first 5 Premier League games.

    So, based solely on stats, his game has remained steady in the past 3 seasons across 5 Premier League games.

    However, I see where Iwobi is coming from. There appears to be this renewed hunger and a spring to his steps this season under Rafa Benitez. He seems to be enjoying himself with his game flowing naturally without the burdens that seemed to weigh on him previously.

    This is great for Iwobi.

    Another winger – Damarai Grey – a Leicester City reject is making a home for himself in Everton. In just 5 games, Gray has scored 3 goals. But he has also been afforded healthier minutes compared to Iwobi.

    If truth be told, 3 goals in 5 games is the sort of impact fans yearn for in football this days. They want players to come in and hit the ground running.

    With Iwobi, you know what you get: lung-bursting, gritty, hard work and determined performances which often go unnoticed simply because the numbers aren’t there in the way of goals and assists for Everton.

    But, make no mistakes about it, Alex Iwobi has been one of Everton’s shining lights so far this season, attracting plenty of praise (from Everton stakeholders) for his early season standout displays.

    Simply put, he looks that bit sharper and his decision making appears to be moving in the right direction.

    The numbers (assists) could have been more had Dominic Calvert-Lewin not wasted the chance created to him by Iwobi’s fabulous through pass against Leeds in August.

    Plus, the 25 year old striker has 1 goal in 2 EFL games across 180 minutes this season.

    The numbers might tell a different story but there truly is something different about Iwobi thus far this season under Benitez.

    This could not be unconnected with the growing confidence he is developing as a result of the faith shown in him by the coach.

    “He [Benitez] came in and told me the part of my game that needs improvement, and so far I can see the progress and impact.” Said Iwobi.

    If the Super Eagle can use this strong early start and confidence booster as a springboard for a good campaign, then he could yet illustrate what a crucial, invaluable and exquisite player he could turn out to be for Everton in seasons to come.

    It is never how the journey started, it is always how it ended that will remain indelible in the mind of fans.

    This season, Iwobi is on the right track, it is just for this to start translating in stats.

    • Iheanacho started slowly at Leicester but today he is hailed as a success story leading to his contract extention last season.

      Admittedly he is finding minutes to come by this season but he proved to everyone (last season) what he can do if he plays regularly.

      It is up to Rodgers to regulate his squad.

      My point is that Iheanacho is now no longer a Leicester City flop, he has turned his career around at the club.

      Iwobi might yet do the same.

      With the healthy relationship between him and Rafa Benitez, I am hoping the former Liverpool gaffer holds the key to unlock the beast in Iwobi.

      Because we know he has it in him. At 25, the clock is running down. But his output might just be on the up. Didier Drogba came to his own late in his 20s. This happens to a few players too as Everton I think will only start to reap the fruit of Iwobi’s efforts much sooner.

    • pompei 1 year ago

      Wow, how time flies! I still remember the teenage Iwobi back then in Arsenal colors. His game has grown indeed, from the raw audacious skills, to the mature passing game we see today. That ability to be the LINK MAN is what makes him so important for Nigeria.
      Yes, his hunger under Benitez has increased. But it needs to be even more.
      Iwobi’s skills are not in doubt. What he needs to work on is his output. A player of his abilities should be getting his fair share of goals and assists. If he needs to spend more time in training, then that is what he must do. As he is now, he is a good player. But more effort is needed for good to become great.

  • Coachie 1 year ago

    Who’s watching Sampdoria vs Napoli, Osihmen needs to desperately improve on his finishing. With better finishing he would easily have been on 4 goals thereabout in this game. Considering his age, i want to believe he’d get better

  • O'billy Pam-Pam 1 year ago

    In the Super Eagles today I don’t think we have any NATURAL footballer. They are all products of modern day football academy,where they are thought everything from trapping to shooting, resulting in no beauty and natural display of skill in their games, nothing beautiful to behold, all speed but no skill,technic but no fineness. Come to School sports in the 80s, and you will find NATURAL skills in abundace, looking back now, with no coaches, only School sports masters, I still marvel at the kind of skilful players we were blessed with, in excess of quantity, in abundance of quality, almost every school had a team of skilful players.Growing up in Enugu then, I can tell you that Pa J (Okocha) was not the most skilful and naturally techical amongst his contemporaries then—But I can say now the luckiest. Skills were abound everywhere, every street, every capital, every state. Go to Aba, Owerri, Warri, Benin,Ibadan,Ilori,Markurdi, Gboko,Kaduna, Jos,Calabar,Port-Hacourt.Ask anyone who played school mercenaries then.The baffling thing is that most of us then dust our boots only during school sports and you don’t find any rustiness in their skilful displays, the grace and beauty with which they control the ball,the abundant display of skills(They were called skill workshops,others watch them to acquire skills). Now sometimes I think to myself, what if these potentials were harnessed together? The ’94 team was just a glimps of what we had–we had better players,who drifted off to other things because football was not paying well then. We had a lot of Okorowantas, lots of Etim Esiens’, lots of Ehilegues’,lots of Adepojus’,lots of Uche Okechukwus'( who can remember Benjamin Okorogwu,killed in the national team).These are the ones destined to play football then,if it was paying like it is today, and all the others played, we would have been in the same per with Brazil.Afterall, we drew with them in the Olimpics with Pele in their team.So watching Iwobi and the rest today,you don’t blame them, the country is decaying and I think the same thing is happening to the World.