Alex Iwobi recounts how Chelsea star’s comparison helped stop Everton’s loan attempt
Iwobi was one of the worst players at Everton before Lampard arrived, but the Chelsea legend helped him turn his career around
Super Eagles midfielder Alex Iwobi has revealed that Frank Lampard’s decision to give him a Central midfield role like Mateo Kovacic’s at Chelsea helped revive his career.
Iwobi was having a stinker of a season prior to the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations in January 2022.
The Super Eagles midfielder had become a bench warmer at a struggling Everton side that was grasping at straws to stay afloat in the Premier League.
To compound his woes, he had a horrible AFCON campaign, getting red-carded minutes after he was substituted into Nigeria’s 1-0 loss to Tunisia in the quarterfinals. It looked like it was going downhill from then on for the former Arsenal lad.
However, the tide turned in his favour after Lampard replaced Rafael Benitez as the Toffees coach.
Iwobi started to get minutes, and he gradually became an important player, eventually helping them avoid relegation last season. He was playing as a wing-back at the time, but Lampard moved him into the midfield.
Shedding more light on his situation at the time, Iwobi revealed that Lampard’s decision was what transformed him.
“I came off a red card in AFCON in January, and I was told that I would have to go on loan. It was mad,” Iwobi told Filthy Fellas.
“Then Lampard came in, I put in my best in training as usual. My first game was against Brentford, it was a cameo and I managed to get an assist because Andros Townsend scored a good goal.
“The next game was against Leeds United, I started, and I did well. Then later in training, he compared me to Kovacic because he is the kind of player that likes to turn and run with the ball, and I used to do that in training.
“Then he said he wanted to experiment with me in midfield, and I said I was okay with it. He tried it and it worked.
“I started to thrive off that. But there were times when I had to switch to the wide positions because of injuries to other players.”
Even though Lampard was sacked earlier this season, Iwobi has been an important part of the Toffees’ setup. He has played every Premier League game for Everton this season and has been one of the best performers.
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