Nigeria legend Joseph Yobo backs Alex Iwobi to shine at Everton

Former Nigeria captain Joseph Yobo says Everton is the perfect place for compatriot Alex Iwobi to develop into a great player.

Iwobi, 23, became his country’s most expensive player when he left boyhood club Arsenal to join the Toffees on a five-year deal last month. 

He has scored twice for the Merseyside club as he begins the new chapter of his career away from the comfort of North London, but Yobo – who spent nine years at Everton – has backed Iwobi to shine. 

“Everton is the perfect club for a brave player like Alex Iwobi and I know it’s the right step to becoming a great player,” Yobo told BBC Sport.

“The manager [Marco Silva] is building an amazing team and he believes so much in Alex to add him to his squad.

“Already he has started well by scoring two headed goals and it’s just the beginning of bigger things to come.”

The first Nigerian to reach a century of caps for the West African nation, Yobo was David Moyes’ first signing when he joined from Marseilles on loan in 2002, making the move permanent a year later.

Yobo became the first African to captain the club in October 2007 and made more than 250 appearances for Everton, helping them qualify for the Champions League in 2005 and playing in the side that lost the 2009 FA Cup final to Chelsea.

Yobo is confident Iwobi’s move to Everton shows the former England youth international is ready to challenge himself.

“He’s coming into a team full of good players, a traditional family club that is ready to back him on and off the pitch,” said Yobo.

“Mentally it must be tough to leave a club like Arsenal where it all started for him, but this is a strong statement of intent to challenge himself.

“I had a good time at Everton and I’m very pleased that he’s followed in the footsteps of myself, Yakubu [Ayegbeni] and Victor Anichebe.

“With the way he plays and his creativity, Alex has a big chance to blossom, succeed and grow into a great player with Everton.”

Iwobi represented England at youth level before switching allegiance to Nigeria and has six goals in 36 appearances for the three-time African champions.

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