Newcastle United’s wonderkind Garang Kuol scores debut international goal

Garang Kuol of Australia (Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images)
Garang Kuol of Australia (Photo by Eric Verhoeven/Soccrates/Getty Images) /

While Newcastle United fans revel in the recent goalscoring exploits of big-money recruit Alexander Isak, another summer arrival on Tyneside quietly bagged the first international goal of his promising young career.

Garang Kuol is only 19, but is already the poster boy for Australia’s next generation, after playing a noteworthy role off the bench for the Socceroos at the World Cup. Having made waves in the A-league the season prior, Kuol was quickly snapped up by Newcastle (in the midst of splashing big cash on the likes of Isak, Sven Botman and Nick Pope) before his true break out in Qatar.

The teenager became the youngest player since Pele to play a World Cup knockout game, as the Socceroos bowed out in the Round of 16 in a tight loss at the hands of eventual victors Argentina . The 19-year-old impressed in a bench cameo, and would have scored a late equaliser but for an outstanding save from Argentina’s Emiliano Martinez in goal.

Described by his junior coach as having a play style like Kylian Mbappe and Newcastle’s Allan Saint-Maximin, the rapid winger has an eye for goal like the French maestros, and even crossed paths with Mbappe in Qatar, in France and Australia’s World Cup opener.

While it’s early days yet in Kuol’s fledgling club career, his international form shows signs of the potential superstar he could be for the Toon. Overnight, Kuol calmly tapped home the winning goal (and his first in internationals) in a comfortable 3-1 win for the ‘Roos over Ecuador in Sydney. Coming on for Awer Mabil in the 78th minute, Kuol (a natural right winger) found himself playing centrally when, 6 minutes later, he put the finishing touches inside the 6 yard box on a well worked Australian move. Starting tight up against the Ecuadorian centre back (Bayer Leverkusen’s Piero Hincapie) Kuol used his explosive acceleration to get into the ample space between Hincapie and the left back, Brighton’s Pervis Estupinan. Kuol checked his run just enough to get into the 6-yard box in time to tap in Aziz Behich’s cross for the Socceroos’ third (albeit slightly scuffed).

Newcastle fans will hope Kuol can take the confidence of his first goal in green and gold back to club level, where (on loan at Heart of Midlothian) the wonder-kid has struggled. After three months in Scotland Kuol is yet to score, but if he can play with the swagger and skill he did in Sydney, it won’t be long before he breaks his duck and begins fulfilling his enormous potential.