Ademola Lookman: From England Youth to Nigerian Star – His Incredible Story

Ademola Lookman has had quite the journey in football.

He went from being a promising England youth international to becoming a key player for Nigeria and a standout performer at Atalanta.

Let’s dive into his career, achievements, and the moments that shaped his path.

Key Milestones in Ademola Lookman’s Football Journey

MilestoneDetails
Birth and Early LifeBorn on October 20, 1997, in Wandsworth, England, to Nigerian parents.
Charlton AthleticJoined academy in 2014, debuted for senior team in 2015.
Everton MoveSigned by Everton in January 2017.
RB Leipzig LoanLoaned to RB Leipzig in January 2018, scored 5 goals in 11 games.
Switch to NigeriaChanged allegiance to Nigeria in 2022.
Nigeria DebutDebuted in March 2022 against Ghana.
Atalanta SuccessJoined Atalanta in August 2022, scored 15 goals in first season.
AFCON 2024Led Nigeria to semi-finals, scored all knockout goals.
Playing StyleKnown for dribbling, key passes, versatile forward.
Personal GrowthImproved diet and lifestyle under coach Gian Piero Gasperini.
Praise and RecognitionPraised by coach Felix Emanus, Gasperini, and Nigerian legend Sunday Oliseh.

Ademola Lookman’s Early Career and Rise to Prominence

Ademola Lookman was born on October 20, 1997, in Wandsworth, England, to Nigerian parents.

He started playing football at Charlton Athletic in 2014.

Lookman quickly made an impact, debuting for the senior team in 2015 and scoring 10 goals in 45 appearances. This caught the eye of Everton, who signed him in January 2017.

At Everton, Lookman showed flashes of his potential but struggled to secure a regular spot.

A loan move to RB Leipzig in January 2018 was a game-changer. In Germany, Lookman thrived, scoring five goals in 11 appearances and building his reputation as a future star.

Ademola Lookman’s International Switch: From England to Nigeria

Even though Lookman played for England at youth levels and was part of the U20 World Cup-winning squad in 2017, he chose to play for Nigeria in 2022.

This decision was influenced by his Nigerian roots and the Nigerian Football Federation’s efforts to recruit players of Nigerian descent. Lookman joined other players like Alex Iwobi and Ola Aina in making the switch.

Lookman made his debut for Nigeria in a crucial World Cup qualifying play-off against Ghana in March 2022.

Since then, he’s become a key part of the Super Eagles, leading them to the semi-finals of the 2024 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON).

He scored all of Nigeria’s goals in the knockout stages, showing how important he is to the team.

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Ademola Lookman’s Success at Atalanta

In August 2022, Lookman moved to Atalanta permanently, and it was a great decision.

Under coach Gian Piero Gasperini, Lookman flourished, scoring 15 goals in his first season and adding seven more in the current campaign.

His performances have been crucial for Atalanta, including their historic Europa League victory in 2024, where Ademola Lookman scored a hat-trick in the final against Bayer Leverkusen.

Gasperini’s coaching has been key to Lookman’s growth.

The Italian coach emphasized structure and discipline, both on and off the field. Lookman changed his diet and lifestyle to meet the demands of Italian football, leading to better performances and consistency.

Ademola Lookman’s Playing Style and Strengths

Lookman is a versatile forward who can play as an attacking midfielder or winger on either side. His key attributes include:

  • Dribbling
  • Key passes
  • Creating and scoring goals

According to WhoScored, Lookman excels in key passes and dribbling, making him a constant threat to defenses. His statistical profile on FBref highlights his strengths in:

  • Non-penalty goals
  • Shots
  • Assists
  • Shot-creating actions
  • Progressive passes
  • Progressive carries

These stats place him alongside top forwards like Rafael Leão, Phil Foden, and Mohamed Salah.

Personal Reflections and Future Aspirations

Ademola Lookman’s journey has been marked by resilience and adaptability.

Reflecting on his career, he acknowledges the challenges he faced, especially during his time at RB Leipzig and his loan spells at Fulham and Leicester City. But these experiences have shaped him into the player he is today.

In interviews, Lookman has expressed his gratitude for the opportunities and support he’s received at Atalanta.

He credits Gasperini for believing in his abilities and helping him reach new heights.

Lookman is now focused on continuing his development and contributing to both his club and the Nigerian national team.

Quotes and Testimonials

Lookman’s former youth coach, Felix Emanus, shared his pride in an interview with TNT Sports:

“My emotions are sky-high. We’ve dreamed about this since Ade was a kid at Waterloo. Tonight was a dream come true.”

Atalanta’s head coach, Gian Piero Gasperini, praised Lookman’s transformation:

“Atalanta had a senior manager [Lee Congerton] who had worked at Leicester and identified Lookman as a potential asset. Few could have anticipated his current level of success. He wasn’t particularly prolific in England. I shifted his position to a more attacking role.”

Nigerian football legend Sunday Oliseh also lauded Lookman’s performances, tweeting:

“Ademola Lookman is simply unstoppable on a good day. Love watching this man play!”

In Closing

Ademola Lookman’s career is a testament to his talent, determination, and adaptability.

From his early days at Charlton Athletic to his current success at Atalanta and with the Nigerian national team, Lookman has consistently shown his ability to overcome challenges and seize opportunities.

As he continues to shine on both the club and international stages, Lookman’s journey serves as an inspiration to aspiring footballers everywhere.

By looking at his early career, international switch, success at Atalanta, playing style, and personal reflections, we get a better understanding of what has made him a football star.

N.B. If you have any more questions or need further information, feel free to ask!

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Rafael Antonio is a dedicated sports journalist at Viz Times with over four years of experience. His journey into the world of sports began at age ten when Tiger Woods won the 2006 PGA Tournament, sparking his passion for golf. With a Master's degree in Journalism, Rafael excels in analyzing and reporting on sports. He covers the NFL, MLB, NHL, WNBA, NASCAR, MMA, and more. Outside of work, he enjoys traveling and reading.

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