The Anglo-Nigerian forward’s career has not gone the way he desired so far
Former Charlton Athletic forward Jason Euell has given an account on how new Fulham signing Ademola Lookman had expressed his frustrations when things didn’t go his way in the past.
The 22-year-old Anglo-Nigerian – who is on loan from RB Leipzig, had struggled when he left Charlton for Everton in 2017.
After failing to be a regular at Goodison Park, he moved to Leipzig on loan during the second half of the 2017-18 season and after 11 appearances, five goals and four assists, the German outfit purchased him permanently for £16.2 million in the summer of 2019.
Things weren’t smooth again with just 13 appearances in all competitions, most of those were off the bench with no goals or assists and now he finds himself trying to redeem his career again, this time at Craven Cottage.
Euell who tutored Lookman as manager of the Charlton under-23 squad says Lookman has great talent but managing his frustration was one of his duties.
“He’s [Lookman] a very, very quiet, shy boy,” Euell told The Athletic. “What I had to manage with him was just his frustration. His performance or his moments in a performance, or the team’s performance, were just a frustrating thing for him. But you take that away, he’s got a smile on his face. That’s just him, he’s got one of those beaming smiles because he’s just a happy guy. He’s humble without a doubt. It was just frustration when he didn’t play well, you could just see a face on him straightaway.
“I got one of those faces in a pre-season game once. He played for me, against Dulwich Hamlet’s first team, as a second-year scholar. He came on for 20-25 minutes. He came on and this is how he is as a player: the first thing he did was get the ball in the centre of the park, run across the pitch, play the ball out wide and we’ve gone on and scored from it. Five minutes later, he’s done the same thing, come across the pitch, nutmegged someone, and you hear the crowd go ‘oooh’, and then plays it simple.
“Then after that, he made a couple mistakes, you know… so what? But he came in after the game and his face was like he’s had the worst 25 minutes of a football match. It was because he dwelled on what he didn’t do well, rather than the things he did do well. So he overanalysed things. I told him that and said, ‘Why do you forget the things you did do well? The others, OK… next time, put it right’.
“But the face on him! He was like a 12-year-old that had been sent to bed! That’s just him, that’s just his personality. He wants to do well all the time.”
Lookman has already played two times for Fulham and Euell believes he’s more mature now in handling those frustrations. The 43-year-old Jamaican also asserts that Lookman’s hunger to prove a point will be of help to Fulham who have lost all their opening Premier League games so far following their promotion from the Championship last season.
“I’ve been speaking to him while he’s been out in Germany, where he’s been frustrated,” Euell continued. “He’s not playing football, that’s all he wants to do, just wants to play.
“If we go back a couple of years to when he was at St George’s Park, and I was with England at the time. I met up and had a chat with him and he wasn’t playing at Everton. We had a good chat then. I said, ‘Look, this is the first time you’re not playing regular football. Now you’re playing by coming away with England instead. So, you’ve got to get your game time in your training and with England here’. And I think that was the hardest moment for him because it had never happened before.
“Now that it’s happened again, being a bit older, he has more understanding of the game. I still believe he’s frustrated, like any player who wants to play. But it’s what you do from that. You’ve got someone who’s hungry to play, and getting him will be Fulham’s gain.”
Lookman will hope to play a pivotal role towards Fulham’s first Premier League win of the season when they travel to Sheffield United on October 18.