Newcastle United January signing continues meteoric rise with World Cup debut

There was a fresh Newcastle United face on show at the World Cup on Tuesday night.

Australian teenager Garang Kuol came off the bench to play the latter stages of the Socceroos’ 4-1 group stage defeat to holders France in Qatar. The 18-year-old will join Newcastle in January after a £350,000 deal was agreed with Central Coast Mariners back in September.

The Egyptian-born forward only made his Australia senior debut in September but was able to earn a place in the squad for the World Cup. His 74th minute introduction in place of Australia’s goalscorer Craig Goodwin made him the youngest player to feature at the 2022 World Cup so far at age 18 years and 67 days.

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Germany’s Youssoufa Moukoko is the only player younger than Kuol at this winter’s tournament having just turned 18 this week, though he is yet to feature. For many Newcastle fans, this was the first opportunity they got to watch Kuol in a live match as he managed a few touches against the world champions.

Australia's forward Garang Kuol takes part in a training session at the Aspire Academy in Doha on November 17, 2022, ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup football tournament. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Kuol’s World Cup debut comes less than a year after his A-League debut for Central Coast Mariners. The young forward featured in an A-League All Star game against Barcelona last season and only signed his first professional deal in the summer.

Kuol will officially join Newcastle in January with the club planning to loan the player out to a European club for experience and to circumvent anticipated work permit issues. Although senior international caps are considered when applying for a work permit to play in England, Kuol’s age and overall lack of experience will make it difficult for Newcastle to get one approved in January.

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Speaking in September, Newcastle head coach Eddie Howe said on Kuol: "He’s a young player of huge potential.

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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.

"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.”