Ademola Lookman: Gernot Rohr Explains How He Persuaded Atalanta Forward to Represent Nigeria

Ademola Lookman: Gernot Rohr Explains How He Persuaded Atalanta Forward to Represent Nigeria

Ero Samson
updated at May 27, 2024 at 2:54 PM
In this article:
Ademola Lookman logo
A. Lookman
Atalanta logoFNigeria logo
Atalanta logo
Nigeria logo
Super Eagles logo
Super Eagles
South Africa
Bayer Leverkusen logo
Bayer Leverkusen
Davide Zappacosta logo
D. Zappacosta
Atalanta logoDItaly logo
South Africa logo
South Africa
South Africa
Benin logo
FIFA World Cup logo
FIFA World Cup
UEFA Europa League logo
UEFA Europa League
  • Ademola Lookman was the superstar for Atalanta in the 2023/24 UEFA Europa League final
  • The 26-year-old scored a brilliant hat-trick to clinch victory for Gian Piero Gasperini's side
  • A former Super Eagles coach has detailed how he convinced the forward to play for Nigeria

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Ademola Lookman's name continues to resonate throughout the footballing world following his outstanding hat-trick in the UEFA Europa League final against Bayer Leverkusen.

The dynamic forward ensured Atalanta tasted cup glory for the first time in over 62 years with a superb display on the night.

Lookman opened the scoring from inside the 18-yard box in the 12th minute off a pass from wing-back, Davide Zappacosta, before doubling his tally with a brilliant goal in the 26th minute.

Ademola Lookman, Atalanta, Final, Europa League, Gernot Rohr, Nigeria, Super Eagles
Ademola Lookman celebrates with the UEFA Europa League winners' trophy after the final between Atalanta and Bayer Leverkusen at Dublin Arena on May 22. Image: Joe Prior.
Source: Getty Images

The 26-year-old completed his near-perfect performance with another goal in the 75th minute to wrap up an emphatic display for the Serie A side.

In the aftermath of the match, former Super Eagles coach, Gernot Rohr, explained how he was able to convince the talented forward to switch international allegiance from the English national team to the Super Eagles.

Rohr speaks on Ademola Lookman's international switch

In an interview with OwnGoalNigeria, the Franco-German tactician emphasised his role in persuading Lookman to choose Nigeria over England for international football.

"Lookman was in my preliminary squad for the 2021 Africa Cup of Nations (AFCON) in Cameroon, before I was dismissed as coach of the Nigerian team.
The discussions with him took place while he was playing in the German Bundesliga with RB Leipzig.
It was a direct conversation, and I was eager to have him on my team, but unfortunately, I departed before he was cleared to play for the Super Eagles," he concluded.

Lookman, who eventually made his debut for Nigeria in March 2022, has since represented the three-time Cup of Nations winners over 20 times, scoring six goals.

The forward, recently called up by current coach Finidi George, is expected to play a crucial role when Nigeria faces both South Africa and the Benin Republic in the upcoming FIFA World Cup qualification series.

Finidi expresses confidence ahead of South Africa’s clash

In another report, Sports Brief stated that the coach of the Super Eagles of Nigeria, Finidi, had expressed confidence ahead of their clash against South Africa.

The two African football powerhouses will face off in a FIFA World Cup qualification fixture on June 7.

Ero Samson photo
Ero Samson
Samson Ero is a sports journalist with a track record of over five years in the Nigerian media industry. He graduated from Nigerian Institute of Journalism (2021-2023).