Everton’s Alex Iwobi is only 24 but has already played for two of the most notable managers in the game, and he reckons Carlo Ancelotti and Arsène Wenger have a great deal in common.
“Both of them really love football and always want their teams to have as much possession of the ball as they can,” the former Arsenal midfielder said. “They want to attack quickly but also to keep the ball. Both of them are really patient, and neither of them say a lot, but when they do speak you listen because what they say is full of wisdom.
“All managers are different to some degree, a lot of them like to give you the hot-talk treatment, but these two are really calm and collected, very similar in what they try to do.”
Iwobi is hoping to play in his first Goodison derby on Sunday evening having played in the league defeat at Liverpool under Marco Silva in December but missed the Anfield FA Cup tie in January through injury. Ancelotti had just arrived at that point and then lockdown intervened, so the player still feels he has not yet had a proper chance to make an impression on the new manager.
“My main focus at first was to try and get fit and be ready to break into the team again,” he said. “The manager hasn’t really put much pressure on me, he just said to make sure I am fit and ready when I am called upon.
“I would like to score more goals, every attacking player would like to score more goals, but the role he would like me to play is to help create chances for others. That’s the way we have been working in training.”
Everton have lost both derbies this season and have not managed a win against Liverpool in 10 years. Their fans would like to see them hold up the leaders’ title coronation just a little but this time the fans will not be around to help.
“We have to accept it is not a great record but hopefully we can change it,” Iwobi said. “We are on our own turf, even if there are no fans, and we do not need any more motivation. We haven’t had a proper game to prepare, but neither have Liverpool. In a derby, everyone has to be willing to put in the hard graft.”