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How ‘Super Sub’ role changed my life — Lookman

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Fulham forward Ademola Lookman has revealed how a substitute appearance changed his life for the good and kick-started his football career.

The 23-year-old teamed up with the Craven Cottage outfit last summer on a season-long loan from Bundesliga side RB Leipzig and has been enjoying rave reviews since his arrival at the club.

The Nigerian star has scored three breathtaking goals for Scott Parker’s men this season and provided three assists in 21 Premier League appearances, amid other dazzling displays.

The forward began his career with Charlton Athletic before joining Everton, where he spent two years but his struggle for game-time made him leave Goodison Park for life in Germany.

Lookman has recollected the moment Charlton gave him an opportunity to team up with them after impressing as a substitute in a friendly and why he chose to move to leave England to continue his development.

“I started that game on the bench but someone got injured and they put me on. We lost the game 1-0 but Charlton liked what they saw and they invited me back,” Lookman said.

“I felt like a door opened that day but I didn’t feel that until the moment when, after the game, they said they were going to offer me a scholarship. My mum was shocked as she thought that I was definitely going to college.

“The offer from Charlton was just out of the blue. Those were happy years for me at Charlton. Nothing but progress from the under-18s to the under-23s to the first team.

“Everton wanted me to play my football in England. But I had different ideas. I wanted to go to Germany to embrace a new challenge with a top side in Leipzig and learn a different style of football. A lot had to do with the platform Leipzig have and the football they were playing.

“Ralph Rangnick [Leipzig’s director of football] had been to watch a few of my games at Charlton. He’d known of me for a long time. So I spoke to him and to Ralph Hasenhüttl [then Leipzig’s manager] and they were confident I would do well in the Bundesliga. I had that same belief.

“Hasenhuttl helped me a lot. I remember there was a time where he told me I needed to be more selfish. I looked at my game and I was like: ‘Yes, he’s right.’”

Lookman, born to Nigerian parents, has recollected his journey to stardom and the contribution of his mother to his success.

“There were some nights when I didn’t have … how can I say this? I didn’t have the best food. I also didn’t have certain things when I was younger,” he continued.

“It was a real struggle for my mum and she had to take care of all of us. She did the best she could and she made sure there was food on the table and that I had clothes to wear. Everything I could ask of my mum, she gave me. I was happy but, as you get older, you realise how difficult it must have been for her.”

The 23-year-old forward explained he is always making an effort to improve his performance with every opportunity he gets to showcase his potentials and revealed his best moment so far for Fulham was scoring in their victory over Leicester City.

“I’m always thinking of being better and where the team is. But the highlight for me would probably be Leicester away. We won 2-1 and that mattered more than anything,” he added.

Lookman will hope to continue his impressive form when Fulham take on Sheffield United in their next Premier League game on Saturday night.

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