Garang Kuol, Socceroos, FIFA World Cup, 26-man squad, Central Coast Mariners, Lloyd Owusu

4 Min Read

Brentford Hall of Famer Lloyd Owusu believes Garang Kuol brings “that X-factor” the Socceroos crave as the teenage sensation aims to make the final 26-man squad for the World Cup.

Kuol came on in the 72nd minute of the Socceroos’ 2-0 victory over the All Whites at Eden Park last Sunday for his debut and produced an electrifying and fearless cameo which played a key role in the Aussies’ first goal.

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After the game, Socceroos boss Graham Arnold was quick to remind fans that Kuol has “just turned 18” and that his brief spell “is just the first step for him”, although the youngster is set for a move to Premier League outfit Newcastle United.

But four-cap Ghana international Owusu believes the Central Coast Mariners product will do enough to be on the plane to Qatar.

“We’re going to talk about Garang, young Garang, that X-factor, very similar to the (Mat) Leckie experience a few years ago when he came through the ranks,” Owusu told the Fox Football Podcast.

“You bring someone like him who’s exciting, that’s what fans want to see. Someone who’s just fearless, he‘ll just keep running in behind defenders.

“Like you say, the creativity he did from the right wing, from the ball going out of play for him to try and keep it in, attack down the right wing, nice little composed pass for someone so inexperienced to play the weighted pass in.”

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For all of the clamour surrounding Kuol, it’s worth noting he is yet to start an A-League Men’s match for the Mariners.

That’s certain to change when the 2022/23 season rolls around, as the youngster continues to build his fitness and career.

Even if Kuol doesn’t log as many starts as he might like to start the season, should Arnold bring the teen along to Qatar solely as an impact sub or just for the experience?

“You would,” Owusu said.

“Like I said, you look at the cycle of World Cup football over many years, every country has probably always done that, have that one little gem that comes through.

“Again, with someone like that (Kuol), he’s different. He gives you something. He’s got pace, aggression, power, creativity.

“You bring him on in the last 20 minutes when defenders are getting tired. Defenders don’t want to see a youngster come running at them in the last minutes of the game, pull them down and you can get free kicks, penalties.

“Personally, someone like him coming on, it’s going to give him a massive boost, it will give him experience going into future World Cups and qualifiers for Australia.”

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