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Iwobi is really 'underrated' at Everton - Lampard on how the Nigeria star is proving critics wrong

11:29 BST 03/09/2022
Everton boss Frank Lampard and Alex Iwobi of Nigeria.
The former England manager explains how he has transformed the Super Eagle since he replaced Rafael Benitez

Everton manager Frank Lampard has revealed how is has helped to develop Alex Iwobi since taking charge of the team.

The former England midfielder took charge of the Toffees on January 31, 2022 to replace the sacked Rafael Benitez and it was during this time when the 26-year-old Nigeria international started to see more game time.

Last season, Iwobi was among the key players for Everton as they battled to keep their Premier League status with two matches left.

Iwobi featured in 12 straight matches and ended up making 28 appearances in total, scored two goals and provided two assists.

Lampard has explained how he helped transform the Super Eagle.

“When I first came into the club and you're trying to assess players really 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 Echo.

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

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

"Alex came and played as a winger when I first got here, then in midfield as a necessity you’re thinking what has he got? Loads of energy and can handle the ball, let's see if he can go in midfield. The minute he’s gone in there for us, he has the ability on the ball."

Lampard has further admitted he was not surprised there was a little bit of negativity towards Iwobi when he took charge.

“It’s not a surprise. When I came in there was almost a little bit of negativity around Alex from certain areas outside, people kind of boxed him off, but I understood straight away that the dressing room respected him and that’s a big deal," Lampard continued.

“For me the thing with Alex was to make him feel like he had my confidence. Now Evertonians will tell you he was brilliant in the second half of last season and a big part of what we’re doing.

"The beauty of him, which is not the norm with a modern player, if you tell him to play anywhere he’ll say ‘no problem’. He’ll understand it and he won’t be upset by it.”

So far in this campaign, Iwobi has appeared in every one of the club's five matches having been selected in the starting XI in all of them.

He already has one assist to his name, which came in the 1-1 draw against Leeds United. Iwobi will hope to keep his starting role when Everton take on Liverpool in their 241st Merseyside derby at Goodison Park on Saturday.