Iwobi: How Benitez Has Boosted My Belief

Alex Iwobi says he feels flushed with confidence following encouragement from Rafa Benitez – and believes the manager’s demanding training sessions can help him consistently deliver for Everton.

Iwobi has enjoyed an impressive start to the season, registering a goal and an assist from two starts and two substitute appearances for the Blues.

His vibrant performances have helped Everton take seven points from their opening three Premier League games and progress in the Carabao Cup.

Manager Benitez has spoken in glowing terms regarding Iwobi’s attitude – highlighting his “incredible condition and work-rate” – and insists the forward boasts the quality to continue regularly providing vital contributions in the attacking third.

Iwobi says he feels primed to play in an important role for Everton this term and revealed the squad’s collective belief they can enjoy a successful campaign.

“The manager is always talking to me and trying to help me,” the 25-year-old told evertontv. "It's helped me a lot so far this season.

“It’s not just me, of course, but the whole team [he speaks to]. 

“My confidence is playing a big part, too. I’m pushing a bit more up the field and getting involved in attacks. 

“I just need to add more goals and assists, like the manager wants. 

“With the manager, he doesn’t give us any rest, he’s onto us 24/7. This is what we need.

“You can see everyone’s playing with a lot of confidence. That big motivation is there [to continue achieving positive results]. 

“We’ve started off very well, but we have to keep going until the end. It’s a marathon, not a sprint.”

Alex Iwobi
The manager is always talking to me and trying to help me. It's helped me a lot so far this season.

Iwobi continued his early-season momentum on the international stage, assisting both Nigeria’s goals in their 2-0 World Cup qualifying victory over Liberia on Friday. 

His performance was recognised with the game’s Most Valuable Player award.

Iwobi, who joined Everton from Arsenal in summer 2019, says his form has further benefitted from the intense battle between Everton’s forwards for a place in Benitez’s starting XI.

He outlined how the players are constantly challenging each other to elevate their performances.

“It’s healthy competition and we [the forwards] always say to each other, ‘We have to try to improve our stats and get involved with goals’. 

“For me, it’s about working on my play in the final third, whether it’s a cross or a finish. All the attackers are the same…we’re always working and doing extras with that.

“Whether it’s on the pitch or in training, we’re demanding a lot from each other. 

“It’s not just Seamus [Coleman], the captain, everyone is demanding from everyone.

“In our games this season, I think you can see the team spirit from minute one until the end.”