When the ball ricocheted off John Stones against Man City at Goodison in the 16/17 campaign, brand new signing Ademola Lookman took his chance and slotted on his Premier League debut to put the icing on the cake in an amazing 4-0 win for Everton. The 7.5 million pound signing from Charlton could not have announced himself better and I was excited for him and for us. Had we found a gem in the youngster like David Moyes used to do on a constant basis? Time will still tell to this day but here’s my thoughts on the 21 year old.
After signing from Waterloo, a Sunday League team from London, Lookman scored 10 goals for Charlton in 45 appearances. Not too bad for a young winger who was only 18 and still learning the game. Although not a world beater, the lad looked like he may have some potential. After seeing him play for us a couple of times after the Man City game, I thought to myself that this kid has got it. However for some reason, Lookman has had four managers and none of them have really fancied him. So what is going on? How can a player, who most Evertonians seem to agree should be starting, not even make the bench on the odd occasion?
Those who know me, will tell you I’m a big admirer of the winger. He has skill and dribbling ability like no one else in our squad. Bernard comes close but I think Lookman is so easy on the eye when he runs at players. I think he gives us something different and could be key to our attacking play not just in the future, but now.
So for me, whilst there’s no doubting his football ability, does he have to do it straight away when given the chance? This can be the case at Everton as we have seemed to rotate the squad quite a bit in the last couple of years. Koeman couldn’t stop switching up the defence and Silva can’t seem to decide his best eleven in all fairness although the squad does seem to be settling the last few weeks. Recently, Nikola Vlasic said “It’s always hard at Everton because if you don’t take your chance first time, you don’t get another”. This is coming from someone who has been named captain for CSKA a few times and is doing really well for them. So could it be true that Lookman just needs a few games to settle? I think this could be the case to be honest but there were rumours that Vlasic had an ego problem in training which also brings me to my next point.
Stories started surfacing in the summer questioning Lookman’s attitude. When he went to RB Leipzig last January, he seemed to find his feet. This was to my annoyance as he had just come on at Anfield and got us back into the FA Cup derby game by causing havoc to Liverpool’s defence. However Sam Allardyce stated that he had a 30 million pound winger on the bench (Bolasie) and didn’t need him. One of the daftest comments I’ve heard from a manager. Anyway, he came off the bench to score the winner on his debut. He ended up netting five times for the German club with four assists which is quite impressive. When he came back to Merseyside, Everton played Valencia in a friendly at Goodsion Park. Lookman made an appearance from the bench with ten minutes to go and I can’t quite recall a player with so much negative body language. He wanted to go back to the Bundesliga and I didn’t really blame him. He missed out on a deal and when the transfer window shut, I was hoping there wouldn’t be a bad egg in the dressing room. After making a few decent appearances from the bench and Silva saying he was happy with him and his attitude, It seemed he may be over it. He has also stated his admiration for the manager and how he is helping him progress. Could the player I have admired for so long finally start breaking into the Everton team?
Well unfortunately not. If anything, we have seen less of him. This really frustrates me as I feel we are really missing out on an exciting player here but maybe Marco is trying to push him to get better. Recently Silva said “He is a young football player but, being honest with you, I expect Ademola to be on a different level already this season. I keep believing, 100%, in his quality as a football player, there are no doubts about that, but what I want to see coming from him is the same desire coming from him, each day, to achieve that, to reach that level he wants and the level I believe he can play at” That to me is a message to start working a lot harder. Hard work beats talent after all. Most Evertonians would agree that Theo Walcott has had a poor season. Is he really better than Lookman in training? That’s a bit of an alarm bell if true because he certainly isn’t portraying it on the pitch at the minute. Maybe he’s fed up and has gone back to his attitude supposed attitude problem. Who knows?
There are seven games to go in this campaign and I would like to see Lookman grab his next chance but to be honest, it’s if he even gets one. I’m sure he will get more game time but he needs to show the manager he is capable of being trusted. I hope he gets his head down in training and takes those comments on board because he is a fine player with magic in his boots. He could easily go in the summer and shine for someone else so I’m hoping it all comes right for him soon enough and becomes the player I, and most Evertonians know he can be.