Toure 'does what he wants' - Jakobsen hints 15-year-old could be Adelaide's wildcard
Al Hassan Toure's season-ending foot injury hurts for Adelaide United but in younger brother Mohamed, Reds head coach Gertjan Verbeek has the closest thing to a like-for-like replacement.
Mohamed needed just eight minutes to catch the eye as a late substitute in Adelaide's 2-1 defeat to Brisbane Roar last Saturday night, in which the forward became the Hyundai A-League's third youngest debutant at 15 years and 320 days.
Explosive pace, trickery and the composure of a professional twice his age – the young prospect mirrored all the qualities that enabled his older brother's elevation into first team football for the Reds, and, despite the result, rewarded Verbeek's conviction to throw the teenager into the fray.
With Al Hassan likely to miss the remainder of the 2019/20 campaign after breaking a bone in his foot on duty with Australia's U-23 national team during the recent AFC U-23 Championship, Mohamed could very well turn out to be an unlikely source of X-factor for the Reds for the second half of the season – just as his older brother was during the first half.
Adelaide skipper Michael Jakobsen certainly hopes this is the case.
“He did fantastic, for a young kid coming in like that,” said Jakobsen of Toure's impressive outing against Brisbane.
“He just went in and does what he wants to be honest.
"He reminds me a lot of his brother when he started... 'I'm here... see what I can do'. I like that mindset.
“He's really young, you can see at training sometimes that there are still things he needs to work on, which is quite normal when you're that young.
“I'd like to see him around, and it's always nice when you have someone come in with a bit of X-factor.
“I don't know if he's going to be in the squad this week but on the performance [against Brisbane], I think he would deserve to be in it again.”
While Adelaide will be managing expectations around the latest Toure to enter the Hyundai A-League arena, the Reds could benefit from an injection of excitement as Verbeek's side attempt to establish some consistency for the run home.
United are fifth on the ladder but their claim for silverware remains unconvincing.
They have won eight and lost eight of their 16 matches played so far this season, and their loss to Brisbane scuppered the momentum generated from three consecutive wins – which came after a run of four straight defeats.
A home clash with Central Coast Mariners this Friday offers an ideal opportunity for a response, and to get Adelaide's bid to firm down their position in the the top six back on track.
The Reds have won seven of their last nine fixtures against the Mariners at Coopers Stadium, and Alen Stajcic's visitors will arrive at the City of Churches having not kept a clean sheet against Adelaide since April 2014.
“I think he [Toure] made a great impression,” hailed Verbeek of the teenager's impact on debut.
“For me the age is never a problem. You have certain qualities. Maybe I had to bring him in earlier!”
Fans will no doubt be eagerly awaiting Adelaide's team news shortly before Friday's 7.30pm kick off. Verbeek certainly has a wildcard in his midst should the Dutchman decide to shuffle his pack again.
Adelaide United v Central Coast Mariners
Friday, 14 February
Kick off: 7pm local, 7.30pm AEDT