Verbeek reveals 15-year old Toure made Reds defenders 'struggle' in training
Hyundai A-League fans watched in shock as Mohamed Toure lit up Coopers Stadium and became the competition’s youngest goalscorer against Central Coast Mariners – but Adelaide United head coach Gertjan Verbeek had seen it all before.
And last time it was Reds defenders Jordan Elsey and Michael Jakobsen on the receiving end of the teen sensation’s dazzling skills as the 15-year-old announced himself to the rest of the squad in first-team training.
Toure made Hyundai A-League history in the 84th minute in South Australia on Friday when he converted Riley McGree’s driven cross, moments after George Blackwood’s spectacular strike broke the deadlock against Alen Stajcic’s Mariners.
After that moment of magic from Blackwood tipped the game in the favour of the home side, Toure’s first senior goal – two days after signing his first scholarship contract – came as no surprise to Verbeek.
“What happened last week is the same as what happened in this game - Mohamed came in and gave the team energy,” Verbeek said.
The Dutch tactician had watched the younger brother of injured Reds breakout star Al Hassan Toure play in the Foxtel Y-League on a few occasions but it was when the 15-year-old mixed it up with more experienced professionals that turned Verbeek’s head.
“Sometimes I needed an attacker on the training pitch and we played friendly games – and I saw a lot of potential,” Verbeek said.
“When you make a good impression on me in training, and you do your best – and I see that Jordan [Elsey] and [Michael] Jakobsen struggle when Mohamed is playing – then you have some qualities to show that also in the A-League.
“It won’t be about 90 minutes but for 15-20 minutes, I know he can.
“Now it’s important that he stays humble, trains hard and learns a lot in the training moments he gets with the first squad.
“Probably the most minutes he will make in the NPL with the youth team.”
Toure had never ran out in a professional football match before his eight-minute cameo in the 2-1 defeat against Brisbane Roar last week.
Despite that lack of experience, Verbeek had no intention of giving the sparkling prospect too much direction ahead of his home debut.
“He is just arriving, he has just a few training sessions in a few weeks with the squad, so he has to learn a lot and he can’t learn that in a few minutes,” Verbeek added.
“He’s also excited to get in – his friends, his family are probably in the stadium – so I think everything you say is going to go right over [his head], in the left ear and out [the right].
“So I said good luck, use your speed and your power – that’s the only thing.”
Western Sydney Wanderers v Adelaide United
Kick-off: 7.30pm AEDT
Venue: Bankwest Stadium
Broadcast: FOX Sports 505
Stream: MyFootball Live App, Kayo Sports