By Goodison News speaking to Kevin Campbell

23rd Sep, 2022 | 4:51pm

We’re delighted to welcome former Everton striker Kevin Campbell as our exclusive columnist. Each week the former Toffees captain will be giving his views on the biggest talking points at Goodison Park…

Alex Iwobi has been the best player at Everton since Frank Lampard took over and has won over a sceptical fanbase says Kevin Campbell.

The former Arsenal player arrived at the club three years ago for a fee of £28million, rising to £35million with bonuses [Sky Sports, August 2019], and at the time looked to be another example of the kind of haphazard spending under Farhad Moshiri that has had such a negative effect at the club.

But since the arrival of the current Toffees boss the former winger has been transformed into one of the first names on the team sheet in midfield with arguably the most relentless motor in the Premier League, prompting the club to react by ramping up talks over a new deal [David Ornstein, 19 Sept], and Sky Sports pundit Campbell is delighted at how the 26-year-old has proved his doubters wrong.

Hailing the influence of the Nigeria international he exclusively told Goodison News: “Over the period he’s been Everton’s best player since Lampard’s been there.

“Very well deserved [new contract]. We always knew he’s got potential to be a good player, we just never used to see it consistently.

“Now, he’s a seven out of 10 minumum every week. Once you’ve got that you’ve really got a chance.

“He’s playing really well. I’m pleased for Iwobi to be honest because he’s found his feet. He’s found a manager who believes in him, and look what happens when you get confidence. 

“When the manager gives you confidence to go and play, and let’s be honest he’s played three or four different positions and his performances are still high, so well done to Iwobi.

“He’s turned a lot of heads at Everton to be honest, because I know the fanbase weren’t sure on him, some definitely weren’t sure, but now they all believe in him.

“He’s done the best thing, put it right on the pitch. Don’t talk, show them, and that’s what he’s done.”

Supporters would have been excused for feeling ambivalent to such a large fee being spent on the then-Gunners man, but few would argue that he is not now worth every penny.

Despite a stacked midfield it would be a surprise to see any starting XI without Iwobi named in it at the moment, and while he does not garner the attention that the likes of Anthony Gordon and Jordan Pickford naturally do due to the difference in the roles they are performing he has been every bit as crucial to what Lampard is building.

He looks to be a rare example of a player elevating his game to live up to what was arguably an overinflated price tag, and for that the new-found praise and the contract extension are just rewards.