From the moment he stepped onto the pitch in the 82nd minute on Sunday, Ademola Lookman appeared determined to make a difference.
Everton had lacked cutting edge for much of their Premier League clash with Crystal Palace, but the promising winger added electricity, verve and most importantly output to its latter stages – whipping in a delicious cross to Dominic Calvert-Lewin, who headed home from close range.
The Toffees eventually ran out 2-0 winners as fellow substitute Cenk Tosun got on the scoresheet as well. But what could Lookman’s exciting cameo outing mean for the England U21 and Everton? Football FanCast look at three potential consequences below…
Bernard will no doubt prove to be a good value-for-money signing for the Merseysiders, having been snapped up in the summer on a free transfer.
But the Brazilian seems to lack consistency and his performance against Crystal Palace was particularly frustrating; failing to get his head up and find Theo Walcott for a simple tap-in epitomised how Bernard gets himself into dangerous positions but often struggles to produce the goods.
Lookman will feel he deserves to be in Everton’s next starting XI ahead of Bernard and on the horizon is a trip to Old Trafford. It’s a tough test for the youngster but considering only four clubs have conceded more home goals than Manchester United in the Premier League this season, the potential is certainly there for another electric display – especially against Ashley Young who really struggled with Eden Hazard’s trickery and speed last weekend.
Tosun and Calvert-Lewin will both be pleased with their impacts against Palace as well, but with Lookman coming in on the left, Richarlison looks set to continue as Everton’s central striker.
In turn, that could make game-time hard to come by for both centre-forwards, although Calvert-Lewin at least could feature on the flanks due to his versatility.
That’s not to suggest either player won’t play an important role in the squad over the coming months. Tosun showed against Palace that he can be an influence from the bench, and that he can be clinical in front of goal when given the right opportunities. With no Europa League or Carabao Cup football on the horizon though, both forwards will need to be patient.
Lookman signed for Everton over 18 months ago but it still feels as if the pacey forward has never really settled at Goodison Park, even spending the second half of last season on loan at Red Bull Leipzig where he produced arguably the best form of his career.
A big factor in that has no doubt been game-time; Lookman’s never made more than three consecutive starts in the Premier League and all but nine of his outings for the Toffees have been as a substitute.
It’s no secret that Lookman was keen to leave the club during the summer following a series of bids from Leipzig, and should he continue to be a bit-part player the subject of a departure will inevitably re-arise in January.
But a decent run in the team, starting at Old Trafford next weekend, could be what finally settles the 21-year-old down on Merseyside.