Iwobi was handed his first start of the campaign in the Premier League by Carlo Ancelotti in the absence of Richarlison. However, the winger struggled to make much of an impression in a frustrating opening 45 minutes for the Toffees before he was hooked at half time.
Whelan criticism embodies frustrations of Everton fans
When the Toffees brought Iwobi to Goodison Park in the summer of 2019 for an initial £28 million, which could rise to £34 million, it was hoped he could take his game to the next level. However, in his debut season for the club, he managed just one goal and created just two big chances (Sofascore).
Since the arrival of James Rodriguez in the summer from Real Madrid, Iwobi has dropped down the pecking order in Ancelotti’s squad. Against Southampton, Iwobi lost possession 6.2 times in the first half and had just 20 touches of the ball (Sofascore) before he was brought off at the break in favour of Bernard.
Speaking to Football Insider, Whelan suggested that Iwobi has been unable to live up to his early promise at Arsenal. While he also believes that the Nigeria international could now find a struggle to establish himself as a regular at Goodison Park after not taking his chance to impress.
He said: “I think we expected a lot more from him, from what we saw at Arsenal, with the big money that they paid for him.
“He’s not hit the heights that we expected. A lot of Everton fans that watch him are frustrated by him.
“This is an opportunity now for him to go out there and show why they spent that money, show Ancelotti that he deserves a place in that starting line up but he’s got big boots to fill.
“If he doesn’t come up with something special, he’ll find his bum back on the bench because he needs to score goals, he needs to show assists and he needs to show that intelligence on the ball.
“I don’t think we’ve had all that since he signed for Everton and I think that’s the frustration with Everton fans, he was an exciting signing – young, fresh, pacy, tricks – but we’ve not seen that, he’s not produced that for Everton.”
Iwobi looking like expensive Everton mistake
Iwobi does have undoubted ability, having already won 42 caps for Nigeria, and he had started to show signs of realising his promise in his last full season at Arsenal. In that 2018/19 campaign he scored three goals and registered six assists (Sofascore). However, rather than see his numbers improve with more regular minutes at Everton, he has instead gone backwards.
The 24-year-old was once described as ‘exceptional’ by Arsene Wenger, but he has been far from that over the last year or so. Ancelotti’s decision to bring him off at half time at Southampton speaks volumes about his level of faith in the winger. For a fee of £28 million he is looking like an expensive mistake for the Toffees.
In other news, find out what these Everton supporters made of Iwobi’s performance in their defeat at Southampton here and don’t forget to leave a comment below!
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