Everton boss Rafael Benitez decided to keep Alex Iwobi after appearing faster and stronger than his teammates during pre-season training.
That’s according to the Liverpool Echo, who claim that Iwobi caught the eye in training.
The report states that ‘sources’ around Everton claimed that Iwobi was the quickest, strongest and liveliest player in training over the summer.
Benitez was suitably impressed very early into his Everton reign.
Iwobi then struggled in friendlies, and Everton would have considered selling – but Benitez chose to keep him.
How has Iwobi performed under Benitez?
The 25-year-old registered an assist against Southampton as a substitute. A smart header found Abdoulaye Doucoure, and he smashed the ball home.
Iwobi then started against Leeds and looked decent, before scoring against Huddersfield Town in the Carabao Cup.
Iwobi was back on the bench against Brighton before the international break. Everton take on Burnley tonight and the Nigerian will hope to get back into the team.
Does Iwobi have a long-term Everton future?
This one is tough.
Iwobi has plenty of qualities, but it’s the same story as it was at Arsenal. He just hasn’t been able to put it all together.
Everton forked out big money for Iwobi, a cool £28million rising to £35million after Marco Silva pushed for his signing.
That was two years ago, and Everton fans are still waiting for Iwobi to come good consistently.
There are still three years left on Iwobi’s deal, and Everton wouldn’t get their money back if he was sold now.
Benitez needs to try and get the best out of Iwobi, and seeing promising signs in training is a good start.