Theo Walcott has consistently served to frustrate large sections of the Everton supporters throughout the season so far, but a pair of impressive back-to-back performances from Ademola Lookman hint that the pecking order could be set for an imminent shakeup.
Walcott was tipped to reach the summit of European football as a pulsating teenager, but as he moves towards the latter stages of his career it’s clear that those hyperbolic eulogisers fell into the trap of 0ver-hyping the next generation of English talent.
That Walcott regularly looks bang average in Everton blue is indicative of his thoroughly disappointing career, with a lack of cutting edge in the final-third representing something of a relentlessly infuriating problem for the 29-year-old.
As the 47-cap England international looks ahead to his 30th birthday in March, the rise of Ademola Lookman should be giving him plenty of cause for concern over his future role at Goodison Park.
Indeed, the 21-year-old prodigy (valued at £18 million by Transfermarkt) was handed a rare starting berth by Silva in Sunday’s victory over Bournemouth, and the wing-wizard impressed all afternoon with his exuberance and willingness to take the game to the opponent.
And Lookman made a decisive mark on proceedings by providing Dominic Calvert-Lewin with the assist for Everton’s killer second goal, a moment which earned him a place in Garth Crook’s team of the week column as published by the BBC.
‘When this lad’s loan spell with RB Leipzig ended, he returned to Everton a proper player.
‘The England Under-21 international’s first-half performance against Bournemouth was the best I’ve seen him play. Lookman now possesses the strength to finish games the way he starts them – full of running. His ball for Dominic Calvert-Lewin to seal the match in the dying moments said as much.’
Lookman’s performance against Bournemouth was the first time this season that Silva had trusted him to complete the full 90 minutes, and that could be telling about what the Portuguese manager has planned for 2019.
Walcott has started 19 of Everton’s 22 Premier League fixtures this season but a series of underwhelming performances may well convince Silva to bench one of his most trusted players in favour of Lookman.
Doubts over Lookman’s future at Goodison are beginning to become a theme of the past, with his latest showing providing enough evidence to suggest that he willing to fight for his place against Walcott.
Naturally, time will tell whether Lookman can add the consistency to his game which Walcott has lacked throughout his career, but if he manages to emulate the form he showed while on loan at RB Leipzig last season there is no question he will cement a place in Silva’s starting XI at Walcott’s expense.
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