A week is a long time in football, as Newcastle United teenager Garang Kuol has just found out.

Kuol scored his first ever goal for Australia last week, finding the net in a 3-1 win for the Socceroos over Ecuador.

The 18-year-old earned huge praise for his maiden goal, and it looked like it could be a turning point in what has been a tough 2023 for the young forward.

However, his latest cameo for Australia has ended in disappointment.

Garang Kuol criticised as Australia lose

Graham Arnold’s side faced Ecuador once again on Tuesday, but were beaten on this occasion. They lost 2-1 to their South American opponents, who came from behind at Marvel Stadium.

Australia v Ecuador - Socceroos "Welcome Home Series"
Photo by Daniel Pockett/Getty Images

Kuol once again started on the bench, and was brought on shortly after Ecuador took the lead. He played the final 20 minutes for the Socceroos, but was unable to inspire a comeback.

Australian website Fox Sports published their player ratings shortly after the full time whistle, and they were not impressed with Kuol’s fifth appearance for his country. They gave him a rating of 4.5/10, which was only worsened by Jason Cummings who got a 4/10.

On Kuol, they wrote: “Struggled to have an impact, though there were some bright flashes. A couple of poor crosses were disappointing, and was outmuscled physically.”

Kuol needs to find consistency

It is not always going to be plain sailing for Kuol. His goal on Friday was a real high moment, but now he has come crashing back down to earth. It is simply a part of his development – he is still only 18, after all.

SOCCER: MAR 24 International - Australia v Ecuador
Photo by Damian Briggs/Speed Media/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Physicality is clearly something he needs to improve on, but that is always an issue for players of his age. They are still growing into their bodies.

Finding consistency will be a big thing for Kuol. That is what will eventually make him a top class player. His delivery was poor on Tuesday, and that contributed to a disappointing performance.

But it will be another learning curve for Kuol, who still must take confidence from scoring his first ever international goal. Now he will return to Hearts, where hopefully a first goal on British soil is not far away.

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