Feature: Ghana's joy as Christian Atsu begins new adventure at Everton
By Ameenu Shardow
Follow on Twitter @alooameenu
It is for no reason that the chorus of Ghanaian praises and best wishes is characterized with Christian Atsu’s loan move to English club Everton. Simply put, we know he can only get better and that is the silver lining in it for us Ghanaians.
A look back to some of the 22-year-old’s games for Ghana at the 2014 World Cup – in particular ones against the USA and Germany – depicts one major deficit in Atsu’s game. The ability to deliver that one telling final ball to either make a goal or open things up towards making one.
That has been the one major pain of Atsu’s game. And therefore for all his immense potential as a swift, skillful and technically gifted player, the truth of the matter also is that, he has been very wasteful at very vital times.
And for a division like the Premier League and in particular a club like Everton who have completed a permanent swoop for striker Romelu Lukaku who will constantly require good services, Atsu hopefully will improve on that deficit of his game.
The directness of English football that is, get along the wings and deliver good balls in areas needed will undoubtedly polish the young Ghanaian.
We’ve missed this quality in the Black Stars and this gets depressingly worse especially when we are chasing games as was the case for most parts of the 2-1 defeat to the USA in Ghana’s opening game in Brazil.
He will also need to build up his physique quite a bit to deal with the exertions and rigorousness of the English game. Games in the Premier League are tough, unlike the other divisions in Portugal or Spain, tackles come flying in at enormous rate.
It can be likened to how games are played sometimes in Africa, especially when tempers start flaring. If Atsu is able to deal with it in the Premier League, then definitely he should do same whenever he comes down for international assignments especially with our next games against African opponents in the qualifier and hopefully ultimately at the 2015 Africa Cup of Nations.
The English Premier League is undoubtedly the most watched foreign competition in Ghana. Its interest amongst Ghanaians was at its very peak during the hey days of Michael Essien at Chelsea and John Paintsil at West Ham and then Fulham.
Then came Sulley Muntari first at Portsmouth and then again on loan at Sunderland alongside defender John Mensah.
Seeing these Ghanaians do action week in and week out in one of the most fiercely competitions in Europe always provided a source of pride for Ghanaians and motivation for aspiring future stars.
This was feared to be diminishing when Essien became the last Ghanaian to leave the English top flight last January to join AC Milan.
And even though Christian Atsu at Everton and Jeffry Schlupp as Leicester City will not excite as much interest in Ghanaians as their predecessors did, they could simply play their part in boosting national pride as Ghanaians players who have defied the odds to hopefully make it at the top.
All said and done, barring any unforeseen injury or any external issues, Christian Atsu should thrive in his new adventure at Goodison Park and this should rub off whenever he comes down to serve the Black Stars.