Hasten slowly at clamour for Mainoo, advises Laryea Kingston
Laryea Kingston, a former Black Stars player, has advised Ghanaians to exercise patience in their eagerness for Manchester United midfielder Kobbie Mainoo to be included in the Black Stars squad.
While recognising the 18-year-old's potential and the valuable attributes he could bring to the national team, Kingston underscored the importance of seamlessly integrating the young talent into the team's culture and philosophy before extending an invitation.
Expressing optimism about Mainoo's ability to make a positive impact, Kingston praised the midfielder for his technical prowess, sound decision-making skills, speed and capability to make deep runs.
In an interview with Graphic Sports, Kingston stressed the need for officials of the FA to engage with Mainoo, visit him at Manchester United, and create an environment that would make him feel welcomed before considering a national team call-up.
This counsel follows the clamour for the Ghana Football Association (GFA) to expedite actions in securing the youngster's inclusion, sparked by his standout performances in the English Premier League, including a crucial injury-time winner for United against Wolverhampton Wanderers last Thursday.
Earlier, GFA Executive Council member, Randy Abbey, told The Times of UK that Mainoo, born in England to Ghanaian parents, was among the incredible talents the GFA was interested in and would love to work with in the future.
Kingston underscored the significance of considering Mainoo's connection to Ghana and the potential challenges of integrating a player who might not have a deep connection with the country despite his heritage.
“Here is a case where we have a young boy coming up and he is doing well with Manchester United and all of a sudden Ghanaians say we should bring him. Have we thought about integration, how many times has he even come to Ghana?” he queried.
Drawing on his own experience, Kingston recalled how he and other players assisted in the integration into the national team of players such as Junior Agogo and Quincy Owusu-Abeyie, both of whom grew up overseas.
He emphasised the importance of making players feel comfortable and part of the team environment in order to unleash their full potential.
“We need to talk to him, visit him at Manchester United and let him feel that he is welcome then slowly you lure him into the environment. Agogo and Quincy and all those people, some of us were part of their integration. We helped them to fit in and feel comfortable,” he recalled.
Kingston cautioned against rushing the process, citing the example of Inaki Williams, who faced challenges in the national team despite excelling at the club level due to a lack of proper integration.
Currently, a member of the assistant coach of the Black Starlets, Kingston suggested a comprehensive review of Mainoo's performance at Manchester United, explaining that it was important to evaluate whether the player's style of play aligned with the national team's strategy and philosophy to determine his suitability for the Black Stars.
Kingston advocated a thoughtful and thorough approach to Mainoo's potential inclusion in the Black Stars and emphasised the importance of integration, compatibility with the team's style, and overall assessment beyond club performances.
“You have to look at the way Manchester United is using him, then you assess the team that we have now and whether he can fit in or not. Because if you look at the Spanish team, they have a lot of players playing even in the Spanish league and are doing well in their clubs, but they would not call them into the national team because they feel their style cannot fit into the national team,” he observed.