Newcastle United forward handed call-up after ‘negative’ spell – one start in 2023
Newcastle United will have another player representing the club on international duty later this month.
Garang Kuol joined Newcastle from Central Coast Mariners in January after representing Australia in the 2022 World Cup in Qatar. The 18-year-old forward was promptly loaned out to Scottish Premiership side Heart of Midlothian for the remainder of the 2022-23 campaign.
And despite starting just one match since joining Hearts on loan, Kuol has been called-up to Australia’s national team for the upcoming friendly matches against Ecuador on Friday, March 24 in Sydney and Tuesday, March 28 in Melbourne. The teenager will be hoping to earn his fourth cap for his country after coming off the bench twice in Qatar against France and Argentina.
Although Kuol only has one start since joining Hearts, he has regularly featured off the bench seven substitute appearances under his belt in all competitions. His final match before joining up with the Socceroos squad will be a trip to face Aberdeen in the SPL.
Australia manager Graham Arnold has named four uncapped players in his squad including Manchester City midfielder Alex Robertson. Aiden O’Neill (Melbourne City), Joe Gauci (Adelaide United) and Jordan Bos (Melbourne City) are the other three players looking to earn their first cap against Ecuador.
Kuol’s Hearts team-mates Nathaniel Atkinson, Kye Rowles and Cammy Devlin have also been called-up.
Speaking about Kuol’s loan spell, the Australia boss said: "He’s gone to a league that’s a physical competition, the way Scottish football is played. It’s going to be a learning process for the kid as well.
"For Garang, it’s about hanging in there and working hard and having that strong mentality. But this is what a national team camp can do for a young player who is going through a bit of a negative experience at their club - playing for their nation, there’s nothing more proud for him than that.”
Australia squad: Nathaniel Atkinson, Keanu Baccus, Aziz Behich, Brandon Borrello, Jordan Bos, Jason Cummings, Milos Degenek, Thomas Deng, Cammy Devlin, Mitch Duke, Joe Gauci (GK), Craig Goodwin, Jackson Irvine, Garang Kuol, Awer Mabil, Riley McGree, Connor Metcalfe, Aaron Mooy, Aiden O'Neill, Andrew Redmayne (GK), Alex Robertson, Kye Rowles, Mat Ryan (GK) Harry Souttar, Marco Tilio, Bailey Wright