Alex Iwobi is determined to continue his rich Everton form after a remarkable career turnaround.
The Nigeria international endured a difficult couple of years at Goodison Park after arriving from Arsenal in the summer of 2019.
But since Frank Lampard was appointed Toffees manager in January, Iwobi’s performances have been starkly contrasting.
The 26-year-old played in various positions across the pitch to ensure Everton retained their Premier League status last season.
And during the formative stages of this campaign, Iwobi has thrived operating in central midfield.
Iwobi was once a boo boy among Evertonians but is now a firm fans’ favourite for his tireless and intelligent displays.
Iwobi revealed he has always wanted to prove his critics wrong.
And as he looked ahead to the future, with his contract due to expire in 2024, Iwobi has tunnel vision on maintaining the high standards he’s set during Lampard’s tenure.
Speaking to Everton’s media department, Iwobi said: “I've had spells where I've played one good game, two good games but on a consistent basis, I think this is my best moment.
“I feel like it's the best time and my most confident time at Everton.
I've got a long time to keep on going. I've still got two years (left on my contract), if anything happens from then (such as a new contract) but it's defo my most enjoyable time.
“In football, you're not always going to have highs. I've always had low points, even before I came to Everton.
“You always have low moments in football. What's good for me is having a good support system around me - family, friends and even at Everton, people are there to talk to and come through difficult situations.
“At the same time, every footballer is going through similar things and there's always someone to talk to, especially at Everton.
I like to remain positive and think about what got me to where I am. I use that as motivation and drive.
“If you don't go through losses, you won't learn. Going through those rough patches made me stronger mentally and always made me feel like I want to prove someone wrong. prove the doubters and the people who aren't going to go through the difficult patches and get the better of me.
“I always use it as motivation and drive to step on.”
Iwobi was at the the African Cup of Nations with Nigeria when Lampard succeeded Rafa Benitez as Everton boss.
But it was simple advice after arriving back on Merseyside which has been key to Iwobi’s upturn.
He added: “He got appointed while I was at AFCON and feel like he didn’t really know what to expect from me - especially what he’d seen in the past under previous managers and on the back of a red card at AFCON.
“Coming back, hewas a bit surprised how I trained. I’m decent in training, always give 100% and he just said to play the way you train and express yourself.
“He gave me that confidence. My first start (under Lampard) was against Leeds and he said: ‘Go and do your stuff and enjoy it’. Ever since then, I’ve just been working hard in different positions.
“I can’t say what my best position is, he’s trialled me in different positions and it’s worked out.”