Alex Iwobi backed to be key player for Fulham as boss explains why Willian doesn’t need a rest

Marco Silva believes Alex Iwobi will prove to be an important player for Fulham after the new signing starred in last night’s EFL Cup third round victory against Norwich.

The Nigerian international set up Carlos Vinicius to open the scoring before notching a goal of his own after the interval in a 2-1 win.

Iwobi has largely played as a winger throughout his career at Arsenal and Everton, but has operated in a more central role since arriving at Craven Cottage.

“He’s a player that I know can add for us in many different positions,” said Silva, who worked with Iwobi during his time as Everton manager.

“I know him really well, I was responsible for signing him at Everton. His quality and his energy is going to be important for us.”

Another Fulham attacker who impressed against Norwich was Willian, who is beginning to recapture the form he showed last season after signing a one-year deal to remain at Craven Cottage in the summer.

Crystal Palace v Fulham Premier League, Selhurst Park, 23 September 2023
Picture : Keith Gillard

The winger made his fourth start of the season after injury problems disrupted the early weeks of the 35-year-old’s 10th campaign in English football.

The Brazilian was a regular threat down the left flank, and played 79 minutes ahead of Monday’s Premier League encounter with his former side Chelsea.

“Willian needs minutes,” said Silva. “He did not have a normal pre-season. He came late [after signing the new contract], the pre-season in America was not the best in terms of pitches. He had some problems with his achilles and lost almost all of the pre-season.

“For a player like him, I know that he needs to be playing every single week.

“Probably at 35 years old, everyone expected him to rest but I think he needs to play games. We have enough time to prepare for the next game and get him in the right condition again.

“The goal hasn’t come for him yet, in some moments he probably should have scored, but with him on the pitch our quality is different.”


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