Marco Silva says Everton will give Ademola Lookman the “conditions to grow” as a footballer and is backing the attacker to play an instrumental role in the Club’s future.
Lookman returned from a short injury layoff to turn in a sparkling performance and help Everton reach the FA Cup fourth round with victory over Lincoln City on Saturday.
The England Under-21 international finished expertly with his head to put the Blues in front on 12 minutes. His goal was sandwiched by blistering shots from distance – struck off either foot – which flashed narrowly off target.
Lookman’s purposeful contribution followed an excellent cameo on his previous outing at champions Manchester City last month.
And Silva agreed the 21-year-old’s recent displays have been laced with promise – and plenty to suggest he can be influential in the here and now, too.
“I never had any doubts about that [Lookman’s ability],” Silva told evertontv.
“From the first day I came in and started to work with our squad, I didn’t have any doubts about his quality, what he can achieve and what he can do playing in our shirt.
“It is up to us to work with him and give him all the conditions to grow.
“But I don’t doubt he will be an important player for us. He is already – but he will become more and more so in the future.”
Lookman’s goal against Lincoln, his first from three starts this term, was quickly followed by Bernard getting off the mark for the campaign.
The Brazilian has started 11 Premier League games since joining from Shakhtar Donetsk in the summer and contributed four assists – including two in the Boxing Day thumping of Burnley.
But Silva drew extra satisfaction from the fact it was his two wingers who hit the net at the weekend.
The Everton manager – a cup winner in his native Portugal with Sporting Lisbon in 2015 – is keen for his side to produce goals from all over the pitch.
Richarlison and Gylfi Sigurdsson have shouldered a bulk of the Blues’ scoring load this term, the attacking duo hitting nine each in all competitions.
But after left-back Lucas Digne struck three times last month and defender Yerry Mina opened the scoring at Burnley, Lookman and Bernard became the latest Everton players to open their accounts for the season.
“It is important [to have goals from everywhere] and important for them [Lookman and Bernard],” said Silva.
“I told them before the match that it is not enough to just assist. They were important goals for Ademola and for Bernard, his first for the Club.
“We have Theo [Walcott] and of course Richarlison is scoring more. But it is important for them to score and the goals were at important moments in the match.”
Everton will discover their FA Cup fourth-round opponents when the draw is made on Monday night.
And Silva was pleased his side lived up to their favourites tag against League Two leaders Lincoln on a weekend when a string of Premier League teams were humbled by lower-ranked opposition
“I am delighted because it [progress to round four] was the main thing we wanted… playing at home meant we were the favourites and we did what we had to do,” added Silva.
“At the beginning of the match it looked easier for us. We started really well and scored twice in the first 20 minutes. We had the chance to score the third goal really quickly [when Everton broke and Dominic Calvert-Lewin was denied by Lincoln goalkeeper Josh Vickers] and in that moment we should do better. When you are four [attackers] against two [defenders], you should score.
“Lincoln came here to try to get set pieces and create opportunities through those and they scored in one of those moments.
“But after that we controlled the match. We could have scored more goals but we got through and that is the main thing.”