Avory on Lookman: 'We’re all so proud of him’

Ademola Lookman with the Europa League trophy.

Academy Director Steve Avory was visibly delighted as he responded to academy graduate Ademola Lookman’s incredible Europa League final hat-trick last night.

“I just enjoyed his performance so much,” said Avory. “I always felt something exciting was going to happen and that was it last night.

“No one expected that in terms of an Atalanta win and then to go on further with a hat-trick from our man. That was really a great night for Ade. We’re all so proud of him.”

Lookman’s second and third goals were the kind of long-range efforts that Addicks became accustomed to seeing at The Valley. But it was the winger’s first, an unerring finish from eight yards, which pleased Avory the most.

“Ade popped up with that first goal. I got the most satisfaction out of that one, because of his sharp movement to come inside the full-back and finish.”

It was a performance which will have caught the eye of clubs all around the world, and with 46 goal contributions in two seasons for Atalanta, Lookman may well be hot property this summer.

“He has had some fantastic experiences in this country and in Europe,” said Avory. “Whenever I’ve watched him, I still recognise the wonderful and natural ability he’s got on the ball. It all appears to be coming together now and moving on a consistent basis for him so that’s pleasing for him.”

But the Academy Director was keen to highlight the incredible work done by everyone who has helped the winger during his rise to the top.

“You do get a lot of personal pride, you pinch yourself. It’s been a special week in that respect with people giving me a lot of praise at the moment because as Academy Director I’m the one doing these interviews,” he said.

“But I have to say so many people are involved in this journey of his. One of his mentors, a coach from his schoolboy, grassroots days with Waterloo FC, was on the TV last night. They played an important role with his journey, as have many of the Charlton staff that have worked with Ade. I really enjoyed working with him as well.”

Charlton fans can support the academy by signing up to the Valley Gold scheme. Valley Gold enables fans to support the club’s academy in unearthing the talents of tomorrow, as well as giving them the chance to win cash prizes.

Click here for more information on how you can become a Valley Gold member.

Transcription by Christopher Umunna

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