Alex Iwobi’s Transformation Under Frank Lampard

When Alex Iwobi put pen to paper in 2015 and swapped North London for Merseyside, it could be seen as a deal that made sense across the table, but more than a few eyebrows were raised when the price tag was revealed.

A fee rising to £40 million seemed excessive and there was a worry that he would be added to a long list of wingers who have failed to surpass the mean.

For the longest time, these worries were merited but the arrival of Frank Lampard in January has bred new life into the Nigerian international. Iwobi has been pulled from the fringes of the squad and is now a key player, all thanks to a keen positional tweak. 

As it stands, Lampard is 20/1 to be removed from his position, a huge improvement considering he was many people’s favourite to be sacked at the start of the season. Although this isn’t as safe as an Erling Halaand golden boot punt, it does highlight how the English man has steadied the ship at Everton.

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Speaking of versatility, Iwobi certainly has this, combined with the confidence to be adaptable enough to change positions, especially when they perform at such a high level. Iwobi made the centre midfield role his own, immediately after swapping positions. The Nigerian was never your typical winger, yes he has a turn of pace and likes a one-on-one but he has a more industrious side to his game. 

When coming up through the Arsenal academy, Iwobi developed an on-the-ball awareness and keen eye for a pass that epitomises so many players under Arsene Wenger’s tutelage. The sharp football coupled with a busy intuitive mind produced a player who needs the ball at his feet and wants to be involved in the play at all times. And his performances this season show just how well he’s taking to the added responsibility. 

The Super Eagle has been Everton’s stand-out performer so far, leading the team in progressive passes, shot-creating actions and match rating. 

In an interview with BT Sport, Lampard gave his thoughts on the 26-year olds performances.

“When I first came into the club and you’re trying to assess players quickly, and Alex in training – quiet lad, really good lad, low maintenance – I saw him in training and thought ‘wow, this boy can run,” Lampard told BT Sport’s Between The Lines as quoted by the Echo.

“The other thing about him is that he has an underrated quality. Those kinds of passes and that awareness – he came through a really good academy at Arsenal.

“The second ball nature of our game and how important that is, and Alex is in constant motion.

For all the negative comments thrown Lampard’s way, he deserves plaudits for his faith and commitment to Iwobi. There is a solid midfield slowly forming in Merseyside and wants new signing Amadou Onana gets up to speed, it could be season-defining. 

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