Ademola Lookman became the third Nigerian in three consecutive games to score crucial goals for Fulham as the Cottagers’ move closer to beating the drop from the Premier League.
Lookman who has expressed interest in switching his allegiance to his fatherland after playing for England at Under Age levels scored the only goal of the game against fellow relegation candidate, Sheffield United at Craven Cottage Saturday evening as they move within three points of climbing out of the relegation zone.
The RB Leipzig loanee’s goal on 61 minutes was his fourth of the season and second against the Blades after firing Fulham ahead in the 1-1 draw in their first meeting last October.
Josh Maja and Ola Aina both scored in the last two games prior to Saturday’s game at Craven Cottage.
The Bordeaux loanee, Maja scored a brace on his full debut for Fulham in the 2-0 defeat of Everton on Valentine’s day while Aina fired in the first goal in the 1-1 draw Turf Moor against Burnley three days later.
Meanwhile, Lookman has revealed how a trip to watch Tottenham Hotspur in the Champions League helped convince him he could reach the very top and play Champions League football.
The London local didn’t find a place at at club until Charlton Athletic picked him up at 16, but he has since played for Everton and RB Leipzig before he completed his loan move to Fulham and he is still just 23.
The Addicks manager Karl Robinson had helped guide Dele Alli’s progress at MK Dons before he moved onto pastures new at Tottenham.
The 40-year-old Oxford United manager took a young Lookman to see his former charge at Wembley for a night of Champions League football.
Lookman told the Guardian: “I think [Robinson] saw a lot of similarities in our situations so he wanted me to see Dele at the highest level and show what was possible. I had a lot of chats with Karl Robinson and he gave me so much confidence. He taught me to always believe in myself.”
This moment helped convince the attacker what was possible.
“Yes, most definitely. I had watched those games on TV but to be there in person made it very real,” he said.
Lookman managed to make that dream come true in a 69-minute performance for RB Leipzig against Zenit St Petersburg last season, but things didn’t go entirely smoothly in the Bundesliga in 2019/20 and Fulham managed to convince that a return to London could be beneficial.
He said: “Scott Parker [the Fulham manager] spoke to me a lot and I liked what he wanted from me and where he saw me in this team.”
“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.”
Despite some difficult moments, Lookman’s quality has been clear. The 23-year-old has provided four goals and three assists in a team that has struggled that department. He will hope to provide more but with the Cottagers’ three points from safety he believes they can stay up.
Lookman said: “Most definitely. We all believe it’s about us sticking to the task and working hard every day. We can do it and my focus is to help keep the team in the Premier League.”