Alex Iwobi moved to Everton from Arsenal in 2019 for a staggering fee of £35 million and has failed to make the impact that he would have hoped. With only two goals to his name in his first term on Merseyside, the Nigerian has been subject to a torrent criticism.
The 24-year-old has been substituted at halftime in the past two matches (against Southampton and former rivals Tottenham Hotspur), but Italian manager Ancelotti defended the midfielder in an interview with The Guardian. The three-times Champions League-winning coach said: “I changed him against Tottenham because he had a little problem with his hamstring.
“Against Southampton I changed him to put more energy on that side and above all to change the system to a line of five. It’s true that he didn’t score, it’s true that he can do better sometimes but it’s also true that I have a lot of confidence in him.”
Iwobi has had a difficult time since his deadline day move from Arsenal in the summer. It started promisingly with goals coming against Lincoln City and Wolverhampton Wanderers in the opening exchanges of the 2019/20 campaign. However, spells of exclusion from the side and an injury shortly before Ancelotti’s takeover have left a bitter taste in the mouth of many Toffees who were disappointed with Marco Silva’s final bit of business as Everton manager.
Everton legend Kevin Campbell has also spoken of his belief in the Nigerian, telling the Liverpool Echo: “There’s moments where you can see the quality of Alex Iwobi and he is looking really good, but then there are times you don’t really see him in a game.
“That’s something I’m sure Carlo Ancelotti is going to work with him on, to be more prominent in games because he’s got the quality, that’s for sure.
“There’s a lot more to come from Alex Iwobi.”