From his FFA Cup heroics to scoring on his Hyundai A-League and Australia U-23 debuts, it has been an incredible few months for Al Hassan Toure.
To wrap up an astonishing 2019, Toure has received a call-up to Graham Arnold's Australia U-23 squad for the AFC U-23 Championship in Thailand in January 2020.
Adelaide United’s rising star has chatted with socceroos.com.au about his meteoric rise from Reds junior to the international ranks.
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Can you put into words the experience you've had this year?
“It’s been a very different and crazy experience. I’ve always wanted to play for Adelaide United and Australia and for it to all happen so fast is unreal.
“I never expected it to happen this quickly, but I’m so happy that it has.”
Is there any of your achievements so far that you are most proud of? And why?
“I think scoring in the FFA Cup Final was my greatest achievement.
“Scoring at home in a cup final like that, in front of my friends and family in the stands was a dream come true.
“It was special moment and something I’m very proud of.
“To also have the Guinea and Liberian communities there was also special.
“They’ve both helped me throughout my years and supported me.”
You had a few options in terms of which nation to represent, what made you decide to pick Australia? How much influence was your conversations with Graham Arnold?
“Considering I came to Australia from Guinea when I was four-years-old, it was more of a way to thank Australia for giving me the opportunity to be a professional footballer.
“Australia gave me the opportunity to play football and this country has helped me and my family a lot.
“There are so many things Australia has given us a chance with that we wouldn’t have had back in Guinea.
“I spoke with Graham and he told me some reasons why I should play for Australia and it was big honour to speak with him.
“He wanted me to represent Australia and it definitely impacted my decision in wanting to represent Australia.”
The AFC U23 Championship would be your first taste of an AFC tournament, playing against the best players from Asian at this youth level, what are you expecting from the tournament?
“It’s obviously going to be a difficult tournament.
“It could be my first international tournament so there is a bit unknown about it for me.
“But, now that I’ve been involved with a camp and I’ve seen the set-up and met my teammates, I know there’s a great group of people there to support us all.
“There are great players in the U-23 set-up and we’re looking forward to it.
“Going into the tournament, we know it will be challenging because there are a lot of great players in Asia that we will be playing against and we will need to be at our best to be successful.”
What are your individual targets for the tournament?
“I have to keep performing for Adelaide United and keep in the mind of Graham Arnold, scoring goals, providing assists, and working hard.
“I want to be a regular starter with the team and play as many games as I can.
“I hope I can bring my good form into the tournament and help the team as much as possible.”
You've already been called a role model for future generations of footballers in Australia, how does that make you feel and what message would you give those aspiring footballers?
“One of my long-term goals has always to be a role model for younger generations.
“To now be in a position to be a role model for others is something really humbling for me.
“Growing up, I didn’t really have many role models in big positions in the community, so to be that for other people is amazing.
“I want to let all the younger generations know that anything is possible and I’m an example of that.
“You can come from any type of background - anywhere in the world - and as long as you stay true to yourself, work hard, and believe that anything is possible, you’ll show yourself that that’s true.”
And who was your football role model growing up as a young footballer and why?
“Cristiano Ronaldo has always been a football role model to me.
“He has always shown how hard work and dedication can take you a long way and that’s been inspiring to me.
“But, off the pitch, Ronaldo is just as inspiring because he treats people kindly and always encourages people.
“That’s the type of person I want to be: someone that is dedicated to being the best person possible on the football pitch, but off it as well.”
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