Toure keeps leaving Verbeek surprised on unlikely rise to Adelaide first-team
Nobody expected Al Hassan Toure to write the headlines for Adelaide United in pre-season – least of all Gertjan Verbeek.
However, three FFA Cup goals in two matches has seen the teenage striker has emerge from nowhere to become the unlikely story of Verbeek’s reign so far.
The 19-year-old striker continued his exceptional rise into first-team football with a double against Olympic FC on Wednesday night to book Adelaide an FFA Cup 2019 Quarter Final ticket.
It came just one day after the Guinean-Australian signed a scholarship contract with the Reds, and two weeks after opened the scoring inside 12 minutes on his first professional start against Melbourne Knights in the Round of 32.
“He’s surprising,” admitted Verbeek. “He was also a surprise when I came here and no one mentioned him, the same with [fellow Adelaide teenager] Kusini Yengi.”
Although Adelaide’s hierarchy have long held high hopes for Toure, a former Croydon Kings talent, the club had more vigorously highlighted the first-team prospects of Carlo Armiento, Louis D’Arrigo and Lachlan Brook to Verbeek when he arrived in the City of Churches in July.
But Toure immediately grabbed the attention of the 57-year-old ex-Eredivisie man by scoring an absolute belter for the club’s youth team against Campbelltown City.
“I saw him playing when I first came here because the youth team was playing and he made a fantastic goal in one of those games and then I let him train with the first team. Kusini (Yengi) also.
“They’re very talented and they have potential that is going so fast... I didn’t expect it – nobody did, I think.”
INS AND OUTS: Adelaide United
Toure has scored in each of his last four games for the youth team and his clinical ability and positioning inside the box has been evident during Adelaide’s two FFA Cup wins.
The teenager is ticking all the right boxes for the Reds boss, who says he will keep a watchful eye on the striker’s progress as the new Hyundai A-League campaign dawns.
“He’s physically strong, fast, a good dribbler, has good technical skills and he wants to go to the goal and go forward, that’s what I like," Verbeek said.
“He’s not afraid. He also is a mentally really strong person.”