How important is confidence? It is one of the most valuable things you need to succeed in life. It allows you to express yourself without minding people’s opinions.
Confidence helps you believe in your skills and ability to reach the top, even when people give you little to no chance.
Let me tell you a footballer’s story since it is one of sportivation. There is this player born in the busy City of Lagos Nigeria but moved to London with his family at 2. He joined the Gunners as a primary school child in 2004 when he began his journey to greatness.
He began his football career at the Colney training ground learning the trade from professional players and coaches, including Steve Gatting and Freddie Ljungberg.
Here’s the first message — help your kids discover their potential early and let them learn from a professional/mentor with a proven record.
You can’t overlook the importance of tutorials or learning in your quest for success, irrespective of your chosen field or career.
Iwobi learned football skills and tricks from experienced coaches; he trained with other players in the academy and applied everything learned on the playing turf.
He enjoyed massive success with the U21 side when he scored 10 goals in only 17 starts in the 2014-15 season.
Meanwhile, first-team manager Arsene Wenger thought it was time to integrate him into his squad having watched the teenager’s exploits with the youth side.
Okay, let’s take a break from the story and share another lesson. Results bring promotion! Your experience won’t count until there is a corresponding result.
Trust me, Iwobi won’t attract Wenger’s attention if he didn’t have remarkable stats and results to show for his hard work and dedication. Don’t be obsessed with premature promotion. Work hard, produce results, and promotion will follow.
Alex Iwobi: Life Under Arsene Wenger
Iwobi made his Arsenal’s first-team debut in a 3–0 defeat to Sheffield Wednesday in a League Cup game in 2015.
He introduced himself to the Gunners faithful with a spirited display against Barcelona in his first Champions League start.
He was all over the pitch against a star-studded Barcelona team. The young man was brimming with confidence and hunger. He created some clear-cut chances for Danny Welbeck and Mesut Ozil, which they couldn’t convert.
His first season under the Frenchman was a great one. He earned a spot in the starting lineup, and he went on to score two goals in 13 matches.
One is guaranteed to change status with hard work, but maintaining the new lofty status takes extraordinary hard work, dedication, and doggedness.
Unfortunately, the Nigerian midfielder couldn’t maintain his regular berth at the North London club while the Gunners equally struggled for form.
The club’s unimpressive results somewhat influenced Wenger’s decision to leave his managerial position after 22 years at the Emirates Stadium.
Well, life goes on as Arsenal replaced Wenger with the then-PSG manager Unai Emery.
Alex Iwobi: Life Under Unai Emery
The managerial change offered Iwobi a chance to revive his Arsenal career, but he could not.
He managed just three goals in 35 premier appearances under the Spaniard before leaving his childhood club for Everton.
Here’s another Lesson To Learn: Don’t be afraid to change environments, friends, company, or strategies if things aren’t working as planned.
You can’t keep doing the same thing and expect different results. Try other approaches and see if things would work out. Change your environment or relationship if your current one is toxic and unproductive.
A new environment offers you the platform to start afresh with renewed energy and enthusiasm.
A Fresh Start At The Goodison Park?
Iwobi parted ways with Arsenal after 15 years as part of his mission to revitalize his career. He started well at the Merseyside club, recording a goal and an assist in his first three games.
Again, his blistering start came to an abrupt end. He was left with inconsistent performance throughout his first and second seasons with the club.
He ended up being a bit-part player in Marco Silva, Carlo Ancelotti, and Rafa Benitez’s teams.
Iwobi didn’t make excuses for his troubles. He identified and accepted the need to up his game when he said:
“You are right that at 25 I can no longer make excuses for myself… Know the importance of having a consistent run at club level, so I have had to step up my game to compete here.”
Regardless of his turbulent periods and criticisms from the impatient fans, he stayed humble and willing to learn from the highly experienced Rafa Benitez.
“When you work under someone who’s managed top players in his career, you have to listen because the gaffer has already seen things you are only just learning.”
Let’s take a break again… Are you still making excuses at 25 and above?
Dear, there’s no room for that! You’ve got to make way around the situation you find yourself in and stop pointing accusing fingers at your parents.
Stop pointing at that ‘stinging’ uncle for your poor state. You aren’t entitled to his wealth.
Learn a trade and start from somewhere. Study and master a digital skill, monetize it, and start making a little cash until it booms.
Meanwhile, Rafa Benitez didn’t live up to expectations at the start of the 2021/22 season.
The former Liverpool gaffer had little faith in Iwobi in the fight against relegation; hence he hardly plays the Nigerian star. Unfortunately, situations were far from bad to worse for the Merseyside club as they kept losing games.
Rafa Benitez’s stay at Goodison Park reached a painful end after his side’s 2-1 defeat to Norwich, which left them 15th on the League table. Former Chelsea and England midfielder Frank Lampard was employed to help the team avoid relegation.
Welcome To Everton Lampard: Iwobi’s Ally
Lampard brought fresh air, different tactics, and a positive vibe. A few matches into his reign, Lampard reinstalled Iwobi back to the starting lineup.
The player has since been one of the most consistent players under the English manager.
His 99th-minute goal against Newcastle played a significant role in helping Everton maintain their Premier League status.
He looks reborn as he has been consistent with his performance under the English tactician.
2022/23 Season: A Transformed Iwobi
Iwobi has picked up from where he stopped this season as he is currently one of the best players in the team.
His impressive display in the 1-0 defeat to Chelsea got everyone wondering what has changed under Lampard.
His man-of-the-match display against Fleetwood in the EFL Cup made him the talking point across all social media as fans can’t stop praising him. But the question is: what has changed under Lampard?
What Has Changed?
Iwobi’s confidence has changed, thanks to Lampard, who believes so much in his ability.
The player now plays with freedom and high belief. He does the right thing at the right time without hesitation.
Iwobi’s worth has improved statistically. His numbers against the League One side were massive — 1 assist, one big chance created, four key passes, 85% pass accuracy, 7/9 duels won, three tackles won, etc.
Iwobi is doing great, all thanks to Lampard, who trusted the young man from the day he assumed the managerial position at Goodison Park.
“Personally, the manager’s support gives me the belief that I can go out and express myself and enjoy the games. It helps me to show what I’ve got.”
Meanwhile, Iwobi’s work rate has also increased tremendously under Lampard’s watch.
Being the second most successful tackler in the League so far this season (behind Wilfred Ndidi) shows how much work he’s doing in the middle of the park.
So, what more to learn?
Get close to someone who trusts in your ability. Work in an organization that values your input and trust your ability.
Have confidence in yourself, apply the needed attitude, and don’t stop going. The world will celebrate you someday. As for Alex Iwobi, we wish him the best throughout the campaign.