FULHAM playmaker Ademola Lookman looks set to be the next subject of a tug-of-war between Nigeria and England after his eye catching display against Sheffield United in the English Premier League yesterday got fans on both sides demanding his services.
Lookman, 22, joined Fulham on a season long loan from German side Leipzig on deadline day and made his first start for the club yesterday. By far the best player on the pitch, Lookman almost lifted the roof of Bramall Lane in the 77th with a scintillating goal in the 77th minute which he scored after skipping past three opponents.
Apart from his goal, his all round play was breathtaking, as he ran at the Sheffield United defence all afternoon, exhibiting nifty footwork. Fulham manager Scott Parker, described Lookman as a top talent and England fans are already calling on manager Gareth Southgate to cap him.
Back in 2017, Lookman was a key part of an England Under-20 team which won the U20 World Cup and a number of his team-mates have gone on to be established first-team players. For instance, Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who scored the winner in a 1-0 victory over Venezuela in the final, made his senior England debut earlier this month, while Arsenal’s Ainsley Maitland-Niles was also a starter for England in Southgate’s last match against Denmark.
Yesterday’s game ended in a 1-1 draw as the Blades got a lucky 85th minute penalty to snatch a point but even after they scored, Fulham created at least three more chances to win the game with Lookman setting up striker Aleksandar Mitrović. However, he was uncharacteristically wasteful in front of goal, thus denying his team all three points.
Lookman said: “We all believe we can do great things this season. We expect good things to come in the near future.”
Mr Parker added: “He looked another level. 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.”
Born in England to Nigerian parents, Lookman, who signed a five year deal with Leipzig in July 2019, is eligible for the national teams of both Nigeria and England. Following the game, Nigerian fans have taken to social media, demanding that the Nigerian Football Federation (NFF) get him into the Super Eagles immediately.
In January this year, the NFF reported that Lookman applied to Fifa for a switch of nationality that will enable him to play for the Super Eagles during the World Cup qualifiers. Since then, however, nothing has been heard of his application, while players who have made such requests after him like Kevin Akpoguma of Hoffenheim have got approval from Fifa and featured for Nigeria.