Sports News of Monday, 22 June 2015
During his six-month stint in charge of the Ghana national side, Avram Grant has not been averse to integrating new talents and fresh faces into the Black Stars squad.
However, there is a sense that he is only beginning to touch the surface of the depths of the nation’s talent across the world, and several impressive performers will surely be hoping to receive international recognition over the coming 12 months.
In this feature, we present eight players we’d love to see given their maiden international call-up this season.
Enoch Kofi Adu
Adu is unlucky not to have yet made his international debut. The Malmo man is a more measured presence than the midfielders typically considered by Grant, although he was invited to the Black Stars’ preliminary Africa Cup of Nations camp, only to miss the cut.
While he is a proficient tackler, he can function as a deep-lying playmaker and keep the side ticking over from deep. He could be an effective calming presence and a valuable water-carrier if Ghana need to protect a lead.
I would be surprised indeed if Godfred Donsah hasn’t made his Ghana debut in 12 months’ time.
The 19-year-old may have tasted relegation with Cagliari this season, but his performances have not got unnoticed, and both Juventus and Arsenal are believed to be keen on the powerhouse.
The prospect of Donsah partnering Afriyie Acquah (a player who could compensate for the former’s lack of height) is mouth-watering, and Donsah—dubbed the ‘New Yaya Toure’—looks destined to be a key figure in the Black Stars’ future.
Unlike the other midfielders featured here, FC Oss’s Opoku is a competent offensive threat as well as merely a destroyer.
He is a classic box-to-box operator who possesses the kind of technical prowess to link the midfield and the attack, and the dynamism to drive the team forward.
Thomas Teye Partey
Of the various defensive midfielders hunting a spot in the Ghana squad, Thomas is arguably the brightest.
The youngster may have suffered relegation with Almeria this season, but he was a dominating, tigerish presence in the heart of the midfield and won’t struggle to find suitors in La Liga for the 2015-16 season.
Of course, there’s also the possibility that Diego Simeone will want to look to integrate him into the Atletico Madrid squad from next season.
Despite the misreporting that Kofi Opare has turned his back on the Black Stars, the defender confirmed to Goal that he is open to a call-up to the Black Stars.
24-year-old Opare’s best years are still ahead of him, and the defender has demonstrated in Major League Soccer this term that he has the physical prowess and the in-game intelligence to make it as an international defender.
Like Opare, it remains to be seen whether Ghana will get their hands on the delightful La Liga prospect.
Williams broken into the Athletic team this season, and while he is still learning his trade, a goal against Barcelona in the Copa del Rey final only underlined what an exciting talent his is.
Spain may, of course, come calling—as they did with Morocco’s Munir El Haddadi—but the Black Stars should make clear their interest in Inaki, whose father is Ghanaian and do everything in their power to co-opt him into the national fold.
As I explored in a recent feature with Goal Ghana, right-back is one position where Grant does not have a regular back-up option.
The hope, of course, is that Daniel Opare and Samuel Inkoom rediscover their previous form over the coming 12 months and return to contention, but Westerlo’s Mitch Apau could be another exciting option.
The youngster has taken to Belgian football like a duck to water, and was named in the Jupiler League’s Newcomers XI of the season. He could be an ideal addition to put pressure on Harrison Afful, and could also star in the centre of the defence.
While the majority of players on this list are—at the moment—primarily being considered as squad options, rather than first teamers, Elvis Manu falls into a different category.
The Feyenoord frontman boasts the kind of quality that would make him an intriguing option for Grant’s starting XI, not merely a supporting role.
The attacker has managed seven goals in 15 league starts this season, helping the Rotterdam giants to fourth spot in the Eredivisie. He could be a wonderful option for the left flank and would allow Andre Ayew to move into the middle of the park where he could have a greater influence over proceedings.