The former Premier League defender, speaking exclusively to Football Insider assistant editor Russell Edge, admits he had doubts about the 24-year-old after he was allowed to leave by former club Arsenal.

Iwobi was signed by former manager Marco Silva from the Gunners last summer in a deal the Independent report is worth £35million.

He was a delight to watch at the last 2019 AFCON for Nigerian after he scored one of the goals that ensured Nigeria overpower Cameroon in the second round.

Alex Iwobi

But the fleet-footed midfielder has failed to rediscover his mojo since returning from injury and has dropped in the pecking order of starters under coach Carlo Ancelotti.

Bruce revealed he had high hopes for the Nigeria international but insists that he is facing being dropped from the starting XI if his form does not pick up soon.

Asked whether Iwobi’s inconsistency was a concern, Bruce told Football Insider: “Arsenal let him go for probably similar reasons as you’ve said. It’s not often you’d let a lad with his attributes and age leave to go to a rival club in Everton.

“You would have hoped he would have kicked on but unfortunately it’s been a little bit stop-start for him and if he’s going to cement a place in someone like Carlo Ancelotti’s team, he’ll need to start performing on a regular basis.

Iwobi Walcott

“He needs to start turning in good performances on a regular basis if he wants to be in Ancelotti’s plans.”

Iwobi has started all five of Everton’s games since the return of the Premier League but was pulled off at half-time against both Tottenham and Southampton.

He has a total of 27 appearances, two goals and a single assist under his belt this season.

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