September 24, 2021

Iwobi: Benitez is always trying to help me at Everton

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The Super Eagles midfielder has enjoyed a decent start to the 2021-22 season, contributing a goal and an assist in four games for the Toffees so far

Alex Iwobi has credited Everton manager Rafael Benitez for his improved form at the start of the season.

The former Arsenal youngster revealed how the training session of the Spanish coach has impacted his game as well as the team’s overall performance.

Benitez replaced Carlo Ancelotti at the Goodison Park in June and as a result, the Nigeria international has played in every of Everton’s matches this season, and he has a goal with an assist to his name already.

“The manager is always talking to me and trying to help me,” Iwobi told Everton TV. “It’s helped me a lot so far this season.

“It’s not just me, of course, but the whole team [he speaks to]. My confidence is playing a big part, too. I’m pushing a bit more up the field and getting involved in attacks.

“I just need to add more goals and assists, like the manager wants. With the manager, he doesn’t give us any rest, he’s onto us 24/7. This is what we need.

“You can see everyone’s playing with a lot of confidence. That big motivation is there [to continue achieving positive results].

“We’ve started off very well, but we have to keep going until the end. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Iwobi has started two games in the starting XI and he came on as a substitute in the other two outings.

The 25-year-old admitted the competition for places in Benitez’s team but he disclosed that he is working on his contributions in the final third.

“It’s healthy competition and we [the forwards] always say to each other, ‘We have to try to improve our stats and get involved with goals’,” he continued.

“For me, it’s about working on my play in the final third, whether it’s a cross or a finish. All the attackers are the same…we’re always working and doing extras with that.

“Whether it’s on the pitch or in training, we’re demanding a lot from each other.

“It’s not just Seamus [Coleman], the captain, everyone is demanding from everyone. In our games this season, I think you can see the team spirit from minute one until the end.”

After missing Nigeria’s 2022 Fifa World Cup qualifying match against Cape Verde on Tuesday, Iwobi – who provided two assists in the 2-0 win over Liberia on Friday – is back in Merseyside and he is in contention to play when the sixth-placed Toffees host Burnley for Monday’s Premier League fixture.

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