Alex Iwobi continued his impressive start to the season by picking up the man-of-the-match award yesterday in Nigeria's World Cup qualifying victory over Liberia.
Kalechi Iheanacho may have grabbed both goals but it was Iwobi's efforts that were officially recognised in the 2-0 win in Group C.
Iwobi has begun 2021-22 really well at Everton under Rafael Benitez and he scored his first goal of the season in the Carabao Cup win at Huddersfield last month.
Meanwhile, Seamus Coleman has had Evertonian nerves on edge as he has played all 180 minutes of the Republic of Ireland's two qualifiers against Portugal and Azerbaijan.
The Irish were beaten in agonising fashion 2-1 by the Portuguese thanks to a headline-grabbing performance by Cristiano Ronaldo who became both his country's and the men's game's all-time top international goalscorer when he turned the match on its head following John Egan's headed opener.
Ireland's hopes of picking up their first win were scuppered by Azerbaijan this evening, however, and it took a late Shane Duffy goal to earn the home side a draw.
Everton's other only senior full-back, Lucas Digne, also featured in both of France's matches this week as they were held by 1-1 Bosnia on Wednesday and by the same scoreline in Ukraine.
Jordan Pickford was in action for England again on Thursday evening and kept another clean sheet as Gareth Southgate's men ran the gauntlet of boos and racial abuse from the stands in Hungary to comfortably beat the hosts 4-0.
Reader Comments (47)
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1 Posted 04/09/2021 at 21:52:35
2 Posted 04/09/2021 at 22:06:00
In comparison Shilton had 48% and Gordon Banks 53%
3 Posted 04/09/2021 at 22:16:22
And let's see if lwobi can keep up this form and improve for more than a few games.
4 Posted 05/09/2021 at 01:51:46
I also understand the frustrations when you see him flying round the field like a blinded moth. If we get the best out of him, he will be like a new player. I still have hopes.
5 Posted 05/09/2021 at 03:29:30
6 Posted 05/09/2021 at 04:29:29
7 Posted 05/09/2021 at 04:34:37
That's an interesting stat though, in fairness to Banks, England didn't play Andorra, Montenegro, or even Slovakia in those days. As for Shilton, no excuse as he played in the era when Turkey were good for an 8-0.
8 Posted 05/09/2021 at 04:37:56
9 Posted 05/09/2021 at 07:07:31
I hope he progresses, as I like his attitude and, if he becomes a more effective player (like he's showing he can do), all the more good news for EFC... and us watching him.
10 Posted 05/09/2021 at 07:16:24
Andrew @2. I don't want to take anything away from Jordan as he really does seem to have matured and turned the corner, both for Everton and for his country.
But genuine question on that stat. Do you / we think that is because of the more cautious and defensive nature of football in the modern game? Particularly on the international stage, where a lot of the games are akin to a chess-like stand off?
11 Posted 05/09/2021 at 07:31:30
That – added to the fact that he can't pass, tackle, cross, head or shoot – makes me very worried how we decided to splosh plus £30M on him.
12 Posted 05/09/2021 at 08:00:35
I don't doubt his effort, though, and his directness is refreshing.
I did think he was useless but I hope I was wrong and look forward to seeing more of his talent.
I am, though, sick of international football.
13 Posted 05/09/2021 at 08:11:36
He has of course been quite poor for the two seasons before this but he was certainly no worse than Bernard who received much less criticism. And even despite being poor and in and out of the team, Iwobi still had some of our best dribbling and creation from open play stats.
He's not a good crosser, I think that much is obvious to both stats and to the eye, which is why he is better centrally or cutting in with an overlapping wingback. The trouble last season was that Ancelotti either played him out wide (often with Holgate behind him, who doesn't overlap, or with Coleman, who'd been told to hold position more) or he was played at wingback where his poor crossing is an issue.
If Iwobi is given confidence and played more centrally, or at least outside but with license to cut inside, then we might yet see more from a player who's started the season pretty well under the new manager.
14 Posted 05/09/2021 at 08:35:42
Back to the crossing. Maybe his call last season to be played more central was justified and a bit of his own frustration coming out??
Back to how we coach players in this country. He's fast, must be a winger. With that concept in mind, Lineker would have been a failed winger who couldn't pass, couldn't tackle or track back.
Coaching and management must come into this, not just the player himself. I hope it's not too late for him as I see talent in there. Let's open it and realise it given how much we've spent on him.
15 Posted 05/09/2021 at 08:50:55
16 Posted 05/09/2021 at 09:19:24
17 Posted 05/09/2021 at 09:36:06
18 Posted 05/09/2021 at 10:36:53
Could be that Rafa will really get a hold of Alex and teach him how to play, and we would then have a very good player.
19 Posted 05/09/2021 at 10:46:33
20 Posted 05/09/2021 at 11:40:15
Hes shown potential but in my view bottles it often and poor descision making, but so far this season and its very early days, hes playing like a new player, and has made some killer passes.
Lets see what happens but the last managers style and techniques it could be argued didnt inspire many players nor supporters.
Onwards and upwards for Everton and to beat Burnley.
21 Posted 05/09/2021 at 11:49:48
22 Posted 05/09/2021 at 13:14:50
It depends just as much on the quality of the team as a whole, especially defensively, and even the quality of the opposition.
Having said that though, I think Pickford is developing into a really world-class goalie.
23 Posted 05/09/2021 at 13:32:45
24 Posted 05/09/2021 at 13:57:12
Sam (13), to say he was better than Bernard who you thought got better treatment by the fans than Iwobi, is just making Iwobi the better of two poor players.
Im content to see if Mr. Benitez can improve him into a more consistent player for Everton, if he can put more heart into his play, we will have a better and more useful player.
25 Posted 05/09/2021 at 14:37:41
Your comment seems to contradict 90% of supporters who have posted on this particular article. Wherever you work and whatever you do in life, I hope your employers give you a better chance of being a success than you do for a young player who does always try.
We need to give all players some hope that they can succeed where they may have previously failed. I think the present management team are already getting more out of him. They must be letting him know that they have far more belief in him than you do.
All people in this world need to know that they have some worth. We all need to be given a fair chance and, for some, it just takes longer. Give him a chance!!!
26 Posted 05/09/2021 at 15:08:00
27 Posted 05/09/2021 at 15:26:09
We often like to single out a scapegoat for collective team failings, on and off the pitch. Last season Iwobi was one of the prime candidates, unfairly in my view. I am very pleased to see him finding decent form. If he can add more conviction to his play in the opposing penalty area a few more goals might follow. No doubt Rafa will be working on this aspect in the weeks ahead.
28 Posted 05/09/2021 at 15:34:26
29 Posted 05/09/2021 at 15:58:04
As others have alluded to, one thing that he (and most others in our team) lack is composure. If Rafa can build that into Iwobi – and others like Holgate, Davies, Gordon – then, we will surely be more solid as a team and create more chances.
I also do hope that players like Branthwaite, Gordon, Davies, maybe Onyango and Dobbin are given opportunities to play some significant time.
30 Posted 05/09/2021 at 16:42:58
He did have a song, borrowed from the film Madagascar (I think)... but it soon died a death, rather like his form.
31 Posted 05/09/2021 at 17:15:25
There have been brief flashes of what he can do over the last two seasons but then he loses confidence easily, wilts away and becomes an inconsequential player and often a liability.
The true test now will be if he can find consistency to play at his best level and improve. Hes given himself a bit of a foundation to prove himself, now he needs to grab the opportunities that Benitez will give him over the next few weeks.
32 Posted 05/09/2021 at 17:15:31
33 Posted 05/09/2021 at 17:23:31
34 Posted 05/09/2021 at 19:31:09
35 Posted 05/09/2021 at 19:51:40
36 Posted 07/09/2021 at 07:18:51
There IS a player here, we've just not seen much of it in actual games.
Think Rafa's ‘break at pace' approach, with Iwobi, Gray, Calvert-Lewinand Richarlison all being very quick must give other teams a lot more to think about than worrying about James, Sigurdsson and Gomes jogging the counter. Will also play more to his skills.
Keep it up Alex, prove the doubters wrong!
37 Posted 07/09/2021 at 08:07:41
38 Posted 07/09/2021 at 14:34:19
Iwobi is shite but some of you refuse to see it. I suppose if you stood in a big, steamy, dog turd youd see some potential in that as well, right? You cant polish a turd no matter how much you try.
Im not saying Iwobi is a turd, far from it, but he is shite.
39 Posted 07/09/2021 at 14:49:20
And that statement, which I've also read in several places, sums up the problem with Iwobi. He's lacking the mental fortitude to put those skills into practice in the heat of a real game.
I've said previously he lacks courage, bottle, whatever, but I thought "mental fortitude" sounded less aggressive. But take your choice from any of those.
40 Posted 07/09/2021 at 15:08:29
I reckon Alex will play over 30 games for us this season, and be one of the better players. Words I didn't think I'd be typing a few weeks ago.
41 Posted 07/09/2021 at 20:45:26
As long as they perform well as a team, work hard for each other, take their chances and don't mess up, it's a foundation to build upon.
42 Posted 08/09/2021 at 21:21:50
43 Posted 11/09/2021 at 11:22:30
Now, who do you go with. Let's wait and see.
44 Posted 11/09/2021 at 12:02:30
Opinions are like arseholes, we all have one, John. In my opinion, Iwobi is a poor footballer. History will show us who is right.
45 Posted 11/09/2021 at 12:16:27
Amazing in training where there's no pressure from a crowd or the media, no real chance of getting injured, but unable to take that level of play into the actual match.
So the players saying he's amazing in training means "just" that.
Benitez MAY have found a way to bring out better play from him in the actual games but it's early days.
But for anyone who's watched us/him over the last couple of seasons it's been obvious that in the main he's been poor.
46 Posted 11/09/2021 at 12:50:01
In a training setting of 4 on 4, or 6 on 6 where there was bit more freedom, I had mates who were way better than me from a skills or technical ability perspective. Likewise at 5-a-side.
But put them in an 11-a-side full on match setting, they were lost, whereas I thrived at my own level.
Iwobi for me has done reasonably well so far in the 3 games this season. Maybe this manager can get more out of him. He's young enough to be shaped and developed.
My repeated observation of him is that he confuses me as much as he seems to confuse himself. The blessing being, he confuses the opposition too. You just never really know what the outcome will be when he receives the ball!
47 Posted 11/09/2021 at 13:00:17
I've watched Iwobi closely and carefully over the last couple of seasons and he constantly avoids or backs out of 50/50's, avoids tackling, and often jumps out of being tackled rather than trying to maintain posession.
He seems to like playing football but doesn't like the physical side of the game.
I maintain, as I've said numerous times, he's got the skill but not that fearless determination and bravery required.
That's just my opinion.
If Benitez can help him in that regard he could be a very good player.
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