Eddie Howe's Newcastle United transfer hint as Garang Kuol signing points to exciting new strategy

There are five Newcastle United players at the World Cup - and one soon-to-be Magpie.

And many fans will get their first look at Garang Kuol – who joins the club in January – tonight when Australia take on champions France tonight.

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Kuol has had a meteoric rise over the past year.

The 18-year-old – who was born in Egypt – arrived in Asutralia as a refugee from South Sudan, and Kuol’s family – who settled in Shepparton, Victoria – couldn’t afford his playing fees when he joined Goulburn Valley Suns.

Kuol’s parents washed the team’s kits in return for help with his subs – and he prospered at youth level.

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A-League clubs come calling

The pacy forward attracted the attention of A-League clubs aged 16, and he joined the academy of Central Coast Mariners last January.

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Australia's Garang Kuol attends a press conference at the Aspire Academy in Doha.

Just over a year later, Kuol made his first-team debut for the club – and he hasn’t looked back since then. He signed a professional deal in the summer, and played in an A-League All Star game against Barcelona.

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Within months, he had agreed to join Newcastle. The club plan to loan out Kuol – who will need a work permit to play in England – to a side on the continent.

Kuol’s signing, according to Eddie Howe, is a part of a bold, new recruitment strategy at the club, which was taken over last year.

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Speaking in September, United’s head coach said: "He’s a young player of huge potential.

Australia's Garang Kuol and team-mates attend a training session at the Aspire Academy in Doha.
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"It’s a show from the club and myself where we want to go in terms of signing young players and trying to develop them in our system for them to be Premier League players in the future.

The Newcastle plan for Kuol

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"He’s had a dramatic rise, and he’s in a position where he excites everybody, but there needs to be some patience shown, and, touch wood, we’ll look after him, and he’ll go out on loan and develop.

"Hopefully, he can play a part in our future.”

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Craig Carley – who coached Kuol at Goulburn Valley – has no doubt that Kuol can go all the way in the game

Speaking to the Toon Under Podcast, Carley said: “He loves to beat a man and drive into the box. He’s got that X-Factor.

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“Someone like (Kylian) Mbappe, it’s a big call, but that’s how high I believe he can go. I believe he can be one of the best players in the world. He’s just so direct, and loves to beat a man, drive into the box, score and create goals.

“He’s going to be a star. I really do believe he’ll go on to be one of the best players in the world.”

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Kuol – made his senior Australia debut in September – is adamant that the hype around him won’t be a distraction.

“I don’t really pay attention to what’s said around me,” said Kuol. “I’m mainly just focused on what I do on the field and in training and games. If I’m not playing well, I’m not going to look at what’s online.

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“What’s on the field is what makes me happy, and gives me the motivation to keep pushing forward. I’ve just got to perform on the field – and that’s what makes me the player I am.”