By Alex Stevens
Ronald Koeman has made the extraordinary claim that he expects Ademola Lookman to become a “great player”.
The Everton manager and all-time great of European football has professed his absolute faith that the 19-year-old January signing will reach the very top of the sport.
Koeman made the massive claim as he ran the rule over the wide forward in the wake of his first start for Everton at the weekend.
Lookman was given the nod over Kevin Mirallas to start on the wing at the weekend against Bournemouth and responded with an impressive display as the Merseysiders won 6-3 in a remarkable match to extend their unbeaten league run to seven games.
Koeman spoke enthusiastically afterwards after the talent that Everton signed from League One side Charlton last month for an initially £7.5million rising to a potential £11million.
“He will be a great player, I am sure about that,” said Koeman, as quoted by the Times. “We will help and support the young boy, and we will give him game time to improve and develop the qualities of the player.
“Sometimes that can be as a substitute but [on Saturday] I let him start because I like to see he is that player. I’m Dutch, it is not about age in football, it is about qualities in football.”
“The young boy has a lot of qualities. He is clever. But in the first half he lost two actions that he took risks to play one against one in a part of the pitch that is not possible.
“But I like that he’s clever. He likes to play but he needs to adapt to the intensity of the game. He is not the most physical or strongest, and you need to play and move.”
Koeman’s verdict is especially notable given his standing as one of the greats of Dutch football and a key member of then European Cup winning Barcelona team of the early 1990s.
The manager has based his verdict on Lookman’s contributions in training and from four first-team appearances at Everton, spread across 110 minutes of action.
In other Everton news, Redknapp shares why he has been blown away by the swagger of one Everton ace.