Mustafa Saeed writes a detailed scout report about Ademola Lookman, Everton’s diminutive attacker.
Farhad Moshiri’s short time as Everton’s major shareholder has been overwhelmingly positive for supporters of a blue persuasion, with the Iranian’s arrival not only heralding a mini-renaissance at the club, but also setting up systems that provide a great pathway for future success.
The introduction of Leicester’s head of recruitment Steve Walsh as the club’s director of football was one big step in the Toffees’ new direction, the man who unearthed Jamie Vardy, Riyad Mahrez and N’Golo Kante to inspire Leicester’s title triumph should be on his way to apply the same expertise at Goodison Park.
Idrissa Gueye, Yannick Bolasie and Ashley Williams were the headline arrivals in Walsh’s first season, but a less familiar addition of Ademola Lookman looks to further flourish Walsh’s talent in identifying the shortest and most unconventional route to the top.
Who is Ademola Lookman?
In Wandsworth district at the southwest of London, Ademola Lookman was born at 20 October 1997. He began his football education at the age of 11 in Waterloo FC, a youth football club based in London Borough of Lambeth. His breakthrough to a more familiar name was in 2014 when Lookman joined Charlton’s academy aged 17. After impressing in the U-18s and U-21s; scoring 17 goals in 29 appearances during his first season at the club, he got his chance in the first team making his debut from the bench against MK Dons on 3rd November 2015.
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The young forward took next to no time to familiarize himself with Championship football scoring his first senior goal only at the 5th of November, it was short time before clubs with the stature of Arsenal and Manchester City reportedly sent scouts to watch him. Despite these rumors the young forward got his head down and his fan base grew exponentially in an impressive first season. In 24 appearances Lookman contributed 5 goals and an assist, being one of the few shining lights that unfortunately weren’t enough to guide Charlton away from relegation.
He continued to unleash his potential in League One, scoring 7 and assisting 2 goals in just 25 appearances for the Addicks. In January 2017, he completed quick-fire move to Everton with £10m fee which reflects how highly rated he was by the Toffees making him the most expensive signing ever from League One. A rapid rise into Charlton’s first team convinced Walsh that the speedy, little forward could be the next breakout star from the lower leagues, and Ronald Koeman has already described him as an important part of his long-term vision for the club.
A dream debut was in the script of Lookman’s doozy journey to the topflight, again he didn’t wait much to make his mark; scoring less than 4 minutes into the Premier League against Manchester City in a 4-0 home win for Everton.
“Scoring in my debut, nothing gets better than that” reacted the 19 years-old, but he already might have changed his mind after being a stepping stone in his country first ever U-20 World Cup glory. The young hotshot was a menace on the left-hand side and made no mistakes cutting inside scoring 3 goals, second most of any England player.
What is his Style of Play?
Lookman’s style was honed during after-hours sessions, usually alone. He’d use cones to create dribbling courses, working on his close control and explosiveness. That paid off and became the name of his game. He uses his balance and ability to turn quickly to disorientate defenders and put them on the back foot.
His dribbling ability means he is effective out wide and as a striker. However, his small time in the top level showed that his future might be on the flanks. As it is difficult to see many players with his body structure play as a main striker, especially in the Premier League in which he cannot provide any aerial threat. Also he looked very comfortable playing on the left of the U-20 England team, his ability to drift wide and cut inside of the opposing backline proved crucial for his national team and paved his way to contribute with goals.
What are his Strengths?
Despite coming from non-league Lookman has great technique and quick speed of thought. His fearlessness and his instinct to make a defining impact are skills young players usually lack, or need a whale of time to develop. He looks so comfortable running directly at defenders, and is able to contribute with goals anywhere in attack through his clever movement.
It’s no coincidence that defenders often look silly with the ball at his feet and here is when Lookman’s main strength comes to action, he is 5 foot 7 inches and is very pacey with a low center of gravity. He uses this alongside his great agility and quick feet to twist and turn to get away from opponents. All football fans want to watch this type of players and Lookman’s direct running, skill and powerful finishing ability with both feet can get the crowd off their seat.
He also showed eye-catching willingness to track back and help his defense in the U-20 World Cup; his pace helped him create great balance for his side, an attribute that managers can only welcome with open arms.
What are his Weaknesses?
The young attacker can be a little bit light-weight which can see him pushed off the ball at times by stronger players. He obviously needs more than his trickery and agility to make sure his voice will be heard in the Premier League, he will have to prioritize building up his physique as well as making a better use of his body on the ball. His ball delivery in the final third may also be an area where Lookman will be looking to be more consistent.
Lookman showed promising signs of tactical discipline and awareness through his movement in the box and contribution to defense. However, he sometimes turns to be one-dimensional as a forward running player and this can be really costly when losing position or even in the build-up play.
“It’s been great. But I can do more, I can do better. That’s what I’m trying to do. I think if you have belief in anything you do – that drive will see you through.”, reflected the 19 year-old on his whirlwind journey to the top level. He could need time to fully establish himself, but at the age of 19, time is something he has plenty of. With the right mentality alongside the aforementioned skill set, we can only wait for better things to come.
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