“Stubbornness” is the word that Sam Allardyce described for Ademola Lookman’s decision to sign for RB Leipzig on loan in the January transfer window.
The manager felt that the 20-year-old’s move to Germany was a massive risk, and so it has proved to be. After making a great first impression by scoring the winning goal on his debut against Borussia Monchengladbach, things have quickly gone sour.
On just his third start in the Bundesliga versus Stuttgart in early March, he was substituted at half-time by manager Ralph Hasenhuttl, and he has played just 21 minutes since then.
With the forward ineligible to play in the last 16 or the quarter-finals of the Europa League, and with Leipzig having already been knocked out of the German Cup, it means the England Under 21 international has just five more games to make an impact.
The intention in January was to loan out our no.31 so he could get the first team football he needed and develop his game. He could then return to Merseyside full of confidence for the start of next season.
However, that now looks unlikely to happen and the player really only has himself to blame. He should be given some credit for believing in himself that he could take the Bundesliga by storm, but it was never that likely to happen.
The striker would have been far better off in the Championship where he could have built upon the first team experiences he has had with us. He may have seen it as a challenge moving to a new country with a new culture and a new language, but it could have halted his footballing development.
At his age, barely out of his teens, experience is garnered through games rather than on the training pitch. Much may depend on how much his confidence has been affected by his lack of game time in Germany. He may well have seen the steep learning curve of moving to Leipzig as being beneficial, but it would have been far better for him to have learned his craft in England at a club who played him regularly.
It will certainly be interesting to see what sort of player we have on our hands when he arrives for pre-season training in the summer.