Everton coach Benitez: Iwobi grows in confidence but needs to improve in the last third

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The Nigeria midfielder came off the bench as Toffees maintained their unbeaten start to the season

Everton manager Rafael Benitez has praised Alex Iwobi for his influence on his team since the start of the 2021-22 season.

Iwobi was introduced as a 70th-minute replacement for Dominic Calvert-Lewin in Everton’s 2-0 win over Brighton & Hove Albion in Saturday’s Premier League play-off.

The former Arsenal star replaced the English international after doubling their lead at Amex Stadium from the penalty spot in the 50th minute.

Iwobi did not really have any influence after his introduction, but the Spanish tactician expressed his satisfaction with how the 25-year-old has improved his game this period.

“When I analyzed all the statistics, not just watching the matches … he is one of those players who has potential and energy and could do well,” Benitez said the club’s website.

“My job was to try to give him confidence and adjust a few things in the way he plays and his understanding of the game.

“I’m really happy for him and I think the fans can see a big difference in these three matches from last year.

“He was injured [at Huddersfield] and kept trying to help the team because we had 10 players.

“He was an important part of the success and I think the fans will really appreciate his commitment to the club.”

Iwobi scored his first goal of the season with the opening of Everton’s League Cup victory over Huddersfield Town on Tuesday.

Benitez claims he is working on improving the performance of the Super Eagles star to get more goals and assists this season.

“We work on his position and when he receives the ball and what he should do [in possession in different areas] and delivery, ”he continued.

“I know he has an incredible condition and speed of work, and his physique is really good. He needs to improve in the final third, he knows that.

“It’s just to be sure he makes things simple, then he can score goals and give assists. He is doing well and growing in confidence. ”

Iwobi will turn his attention to Nigeria’s 2022 World Cup qualifiers against Liberia and Cape Verde after being named in Gernot Rohr’s 30-man squad for next month’s outings.

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