Sunday, 18 October 2020

Can Lookman deliver on his potential at Craven Cottage

 Ademola Lookman scored his first Premier League on his Everton debut in a 4-0 rout of Manchester City in 2017. The second was a long time coming.

But three years, 37 Premier League appearances and two clubs since the first, the 22-year-old was on target again on Sunday.

Lookman skipped beyond two challenges on the edge of the penalty area before firing past Aaron Ramsdale as Fulham drew 1-1 with Sheffield United.

It rounded off an excellent performance and offered a glimpse of the talent RB Leipzig were willing to pay £22.5m for last year.

So can the winger deliver on his potential at Craven Cottage after joining Scott Parker's side on loan this season?

The Fulham boss certainly thinks so, describing Lookman as a "top talent" after netting on his first start for the club.

Lookman burst through at Charlton Athletic as an 18-year-old but, despite scoring five goals in 24 games, was unable to help them avoid relegation to League One.

He netted four times the following season before securing a move to Everton in January 2017, and scored on his debut after coming on as a late substitute in a 4-0 win over Manchester City.

But he failed to nail down a regular starting place as the Toffees went through three managers over the following 12 months - Ronald Koeman, caretaker David Unsworth and Sam Allardyce - opting to join RB Leipzig on loan in January 2018.

The youngster immediately impressed, scoring a debut winner against Borussia Monchengladbach and adding another four goals before the end of the season.

Back at Everton the following season, this time under boss Marco Silva, the winger made 24 appearances in all competitions but was sold to Leipzig in the summer of 2019.

His second spell in the Bundesliga proved less fruitful. He joined Fulham on loan last month, and impressed Parker on his debut after coming off the bench in a 1-0 defeat by Wolves.

"He looked another level," said Parker. "You can see the quality the boy's got. We knew that at the start of the window, when he was the main one I wanted.

"You can see in a short space of time, the boy's got unbelievable quality. He's a big plus for us this year and he's going to be a big help for us."

Lookman again showed why he was Parker's main target as he scored at Bramall Lane.

"We all believe we can do great things this season," Lookman told Match of the Day afterwards. "We expect good things to come in the near future."

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