Soccer News of Monday, 24 September 2012

Source: Prince Dornu-Leiku / 90 MINUTES

Essien stopped Yaya Toure - Nana Agyemang

Football coach and commentator, Nana Kwaku Agyemang, believes Michael Essien did very well on his Real Madrid debut last Tuesday against Manchester City, even neutralizing the otherwise marauding strengths of Yaya Toure during their UEFA Champions’ League clash at the Santiago Bernabeu.

The UEFA-licensed Nana Agyemang remains keen on a total rediscovery of form by Essien for Madrid because of how important it means for the Ghana Black Stars. That’s why he is excited by what he has already seen of the Ghanaian player on loan at the Bernabeu from Chelsea.

“He did pretty well and lasted 60 minutes and for me he did his job. It’s a different Essien now, he is not the box-to-box player anymore. Now it’s more about his mental capacities and how he can deal with changes during the game. It’s about how he intercepts through balls and how he distributes passes,” Nana Agyemang said. Agyemang is adamant Essien won the midfield duel with Ivorian midfielder, Toure.

“He (Essien) quite clearly had an impact because it wasn’t until he left the pitch before Yaya Toure had room to operate which led to the first goal,” Nana Agyemang explained to 90 MINUTES.

He continued: “I think the coach is going to use him where he thinks fit, he will use him based on the opposition and strategy.

“What we need to see is Michael plays a lot of games so that he regains his old self so he can be called to take charge of the Black Stars midfield holding role. Only he can do that job perfectly well as I don’t think any of those playing now can. “That position used to be about grit and making clearances but it has changed and become more tactical. It’s about anticipation and making clean challenges, nobody wants to concede cheap fouls around their vital goal area because there are good players who can score from freekicks these days.”

Nana Agyemang added on Essien who also excelled in his first full game for the Spain champions in Monday night’s 2-0 away success against Rayo Vallecano: “Certainly it’s too early to say much, we’ve got to see more of him and then we can say something about his future.

“My main issue is about him getting more playing time so that he will come and take care of business for the national team. Mourinho would do a lot to Essien’s international career and I’m really interested in that because the Black Stars need him.”