'Rafa Eats, Sleeps And Breathes Football - It Rubs Off On Us'

Alex Iwobi talks Rafael Benitez's impact, his favourite position and Saturday's trip to Aston Villa as the Blues look to extend their unbeaten start to the season...

- It's been a fantastic start to the season. How would you describe the mood around the place at the moment?

AI: "As you can see, we're in a good place right now - the players and the fans. We're feeling good, very confident and excited about any challenge that comes our way. It's been really good."

- What do you believe has been the key to our early form?

AI: "I think the manager has really made us feel confident. 

"He's made sure we're working hard every day and I think that's showing out on the pitch. 

"He's got the team playing as one."

- The manager has spoken about being impressed by your ability and your attitude for the team. What has it been like working with him so far?

AI: "He's someone that demands a lot - not just from me but from everyone. He wants the best out of every single player. He's working hard with individuals and he speaks to us every day. He'll tell you when you've done something well, but he'll also always give you something you can improve on - and something that's going to help the team. He's really helped me.

"He's a world-class manager, so I knew what we were getting when he was appointed. We've seen he's someone with ambition, so I think he's going to be great for the club. 

"He has so much knowledge about the game and I really respect how seriously he approaches football. He eats, sleeps and breathes football. He's always thinking about it all the time - and that rubs off on the players. I know it has on me.

"Obviously, at first for the fans, it was a bit strange in terms of not knowing what to expect because of where he'd managed in the past - but you can see how passionate he is about this job. He always gives 100% in everything he does.

"It was always going to take some time for the fans to get used to him being our manager but I feel like now the fans, as well as the players, are really enjoying having him here."

- What has he been working on with you specifically?

AI: "He said to me that I'm an attacker and attackers really get noticed for their goals and assists, so he's been working with me on getting into the box more, trying to get into spaces where I can get an assist or get a goal.

"As I say, he demands a lot on me - but I'm willing to put the work in to better myself and the team. 

"It's been going really well so far. He's put a lot of faith and trust in me and, as a player, that's what you need.

"It's not just me - the other players, even the other players in my position competing for the same places - feel the same. We're all enjoying it."

- You've played in a number of positions during your time here, including more defensive roles last season. What has that been like for you? And where do you feel most comfortable?

AI: "I think playing different roles has helped me to understand the game a bit more, especially those defensive roles. I'm not going to complain - playing right wing-back, right midfield, left midfield, I'll play anywhere and I'll always give my best.

"My aim is to get more goals and assists but if I'm asked to do it at right wing-back, then I'll do it and try my best!

"I think, for Everton, my best position for the team is probably out wide. 

"For my national team, it's completely different and I do like playing in the midfield as a number 8 or number 10.

"I feel like I can play in any position. For each manager and each team it's going to be different."

- You seem in a good place at the moment. What are you enjoying most about your football?

AI: "Obviously, when you're getting results and you're getting game time then you are going to enjoy it. 

"There's a good feeling amongst us all. There's healthy competition in the squad - nobody is jealous or envious, everyone just wants to help the team and that's a really positive thing." 

- A trip to Aston Villa next up - what are you expecting from that one?

AI: "We know it's not going to be easy. They're coming off the back of that defeat to Chelsea, so they'll no doubt be hungry and fired up for this game, especially with it being at home for them.

"Villa are a strong team. But we're unbeaten and we'll take that confidence into the game. Hopefully we can go and get the result."