Alex Iwobi can help to secure Everton’s Premiership status


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Football club managers influence how well their players perform and for Nigerian born Alexander Chuka Iwobi, that has proven to be true. The 23-year-old striker was bought from Arsenal in August this year for £34 million. He wanted the move to get more first-team football and rid himself of the “youngster tag” that was following him around at the Emirates.

Iwobi joined Everton having been promised an opportunity of playing regularly for the first team and although he did get to make 15 appearances (five as a substitute), he only managed to score one goal. Disappointing, to say the least. But, he was not alone. The overall team performance under manager Marco Silva was left much to be desired.

Such was the failure of Silva to inspire his team to climb away from the relegation zone that after suffering eight defeats from eleven matches, the Portuguese was shown the door. It was hardly surprising.

The 5-2 drubbing by Liverpool at Anfield on the 4th of December proved to be the final straw. His sacking substantiates the managerial sack race statistics that show December as being the hottest month for managerial sackings.

Enter Duncan Ferguson as Silva’s replacement – albeit on a caretaker basis – and all things changed. Everton won their first game under his charge against Chelsea and drew their second against Manchester United at Old Trafford.

Ferguson’s appointment, even though temporary, looks as though it could have made a world of difference to Iwobi. But, only time will tell as Iwobi’s biggest criticism to date is his lack of consistency. It’s something he must address if he is to fulfill his true potential.

ALSO READ: Can Alex Iwobi save Everton?

Iwobi has already played alongside some top players – particularly when he was with Arsenal, players like Mesut Ozil and Pierre Emerick Aubameyang. However, the Nigerian’s role model is a fellow countryman, former star of the Super Eagles side, Jay Okocha, who played 75 times for Nigeria, scoring 15 goals.

Alex Iwobi’s desire to emulate Okocha, who also happens to be his uncle, is well underway. The 23-year-old has already made 40 appearances for his country and has scored seven goals. He still has many years ahead of him and could well surpass his uncle’s record. He is considered to be an integral part of the Super Eagles set-up but needs to establish that same level of commitment with Everton.

The signs are good under the new caretaker manager. After the Toffee’s 1-1 draw with Manchester United, Ferguson was full of praise for the youngster, describing him as an incredible player with a great, workaholic attitude. But for a good stop from United’s goalkeeper, David De Gea, he might even have won the match for Everton.

It all remains to be seen as to who will become the permanent manager at Goodison Park, but Toffee’s supporters are hoping that whoever it is will be able to get the best out of the Nigerian. It could make all the difference to continuing Everton’s climb away from the relegation zone and ending up in a safe position at the end of the season.

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