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Are Silva’s expectations of Lookman unrealistic?

Everton manager explains why youngster has not played much recently

Everton FC v West Ham United - Premier League Photo by Alex Livesey/Getty Images

Just about every weekend, an hour before kickoff in Everton games, Blues the world over react quite similarly when the tweet with the Toffees starting lineup and substitutes is released.

‘Where is Lookman?’ or ‘Why isn’t he starting?’, or if Theo Walcott actually starts then the level of vitriol certainly ratchets up a couple of notches leading up to the kickoff.

Well, now we know why, and apparently Marco Silva has decided that youngster is not showing enough consistency in training. Speaking to the Liverpool Echo, the manager said of the 21-year-old -

“He has to be the same Lookman everyday. He has to be the same Lookman that has that desire.

“We know what his quality is and you know I believe in his quality since the first day I saw him so it has to be same Lookman everyday with the same desire everyday.

“He needs to understand what the coach wants coming from him, and any winger in our model, because, after that, the quality he has.

“He is a young football player but, being honest with you, I expect Ademola to be on a different level already this season.

“I keep believing, 100%, in his quality as a football player, there are no doubts about that, but what I want to see coming from him is the same desire coming from him, each day, to achieve that, to reach that level he wants and the level I believe he can play at.”

Everton fought hard to ward off RB Leipzig over the summer and then again during the January transfer window, with the German side looking to reprise the great form the youngster showed there last season on loan.

However, it appears that despite him showing Silva that he has the talent to be on the pitch, Lookman might not be putting in the work to correct his deficiencies and has subsequently been overlooked to start for the Blues.

When asked if his defensive abilities were a factor in his omission, Silva continued -

“It is one of the things he has to improve, that is clear. When you play against City, you will have 30 or 40% of the ball. But when I look at my wingers, strikers or offensive midfielders, I cannot look at his defensive capabilities as the first thing.

“But against these type of teams we have to be able to answer 90 minutes of high intensity with a good knowledge about the defensive process because they obligate that.

“Maybe it was not a coincidence what has happened and I agree with you, it is one thing he clearly has to improve. But he also has to improve in his offensive part.

“He is trying, he is giving and what I want coming from him is more consistency in his daily work.

“I see one Lookman doing fantastic things one day and I say: ‘Ok, it will be this week’ and maybe the next day I have doubts. I don’t want this because, in my opinion, he has big, big potential.”

There were some concerns with the player’s attitude to begin the season when his move to Leipzig was denied, but the player appeared to bounce back well. Now it seems those same worries are resurfacing.

Lookman was unable to break into the lineup when Sam Allardyce was in charge, but with Big Sam not a renowned identifier of talent, we won’t hold that against the 21-year-old. However it does appear Silva has made it quite clear what he expects from the winger, and with just seven games to play this season Lookman is running out of time to show improvement and get playing time.