Everton manager Sam Allardyce has voiced his concerns over young attacker Ademola Lookman's loan move to RB Leipzig, claiming that the Bundesliga is a "difficult challenge" for any player, regardless of age.
Lookman made the temporary switch to Leipzig on Wednesday (31 January), just two days after Allardyce publicly stated that he would remain on Merseyside until the end of the season.
The former England manager was keen to stress that he did not want to part with the former Charlton Athletic starlet due to the departures of Aaron Lennon and Kevin Mirallas, who joined Burnley and Olympiakos respectively, but the 20-year-old was desperate to leave Everton in search of regular game-time.
The powers that be at Goodison Park advised him to join Championship side Derby County, but Lookman, who cost Everton around £11m in January last year, was determined to join Ralph Hassenhuttl's side.
"I was reluctant to let him go but he insisted," Allardyce said in his conference, per The Liverpool Echo. "Rather that than have a player having the wrong attitude he wanted to go and play football. Because of Lennon and Mirallas going we didn't want him to go, but because of the offer from Leipzig he chose to go there."
"It's [Bundesliga] a difficult challenge for anyone, especially at such a young age. From a footballing point of view he's got a lot of talent but from a cultural point of view it could be very difficult."
Many Everton supporters were frustrated by the lack of opportunities offered to Lookman by Allardyce and former manager Ronald Koeman, but the current Everton boss does not think the England youth international is ready to perform on a consistent basis in the top-flight of English football.
Lookman started just one Premier League match for the Toffees this season, appearing from the substitutes' bench six times, but Allardyce, who is not expected to remain on Merseyside beyond this summer, is adamant that Everton is the best place for youngsters to come and ply their trade in England.
"His consistency level is a problem," Allardyce said. "But I've got to keep emphasising this, we are the top team for playing youngsters in every division in this country."
"I don't guarantee anyone first-team football but we give youngsters more minutes than any other team in this country. Everybody knows this is the hardest place to play football at 22, 21 and under. But whether it's from injury or lack of form from senior players they've had the opportunity here."