believes had the wrong ‘perception’ of Alex Iwobi after signing him from Arsenal and insists he has all the qualities to thrive as a central midfielder.
Iwobi joined Everton in a £34 million deal from Arsenal in 2019 but the Nigeria international has been heavily criticised by supporters during his time at Goodison Park.
However, Iwobi has made an impressive start to the new season, while Lampard has been credited with sparking the 26-year-old’s turnaround by playing him in a central-midfield role, rather than on the wing.
Lampard says he used his own experience as a midfielder to recognise Iwobi’s threat from a central position and believes his ability to thrive was ‘restricted’ on Everton’s flank.
‘At the moment, I said it last week, I think he’s one of the best midfield players in the league in my opinion in terms of being a No.6 or No.8,’ Lampard said on Thursday.
‘He played as a double No.6 earlier in the season and was really, really good for us, and then moved into a slight advanced No.8, and again, his form has been great.
‘His development has been brilliant. It’s a funny one, I think there was a perception about Alex when I came in, and it’s all his work, all I’ve done is support him and try to maybe adapt the position slightly, the rest is him.
‘I felt and always saw he’d be dangerous in the middle area of the pitch. It probably helped I was a midfield player and I understood some of the things he had I wouldn’t want to go up against, and I felt they were restricted on the wing. Opening the pitch up more centrally was a big help for him and then the rest is him.
‘I’ve been really pleased to see his development, I just want more from him because I think with what he’s got, attribute wise, I think there’s still more to come.
‘Sometimes you don’t want to dribble in the middle of the park but at the same time, when players in midfield have an ability to go past you, I always remember, I’m not comparing him by the way but I always remember Yaya Toure as a player, he was a midfield player who could take you in and go past you both ways as such, and I always found that a difficult threat in game.
‘I think when a player has that talent, and can play but also has vision, can pass and off-the-ball work-rate then I think it’s something you really want to work with and can be a big help for the team.’
, ., and .