Newcastle chief Shola Ameobi isn't to blame for Garang Kuol's loan woes
Why Shola Ameobi is not to blame for Garang Kuol's loan struggles


Why Shola Ameobi is not to blame for Garang Kuol's loan struggles

There was a huge amount of buzz when Garang Kuol left Newcastle United to join Hearts on loan in January, but his move north of the border is proving to be a disaster.

Shortly after Kuol signed for Newcastle, he headed to Scotland with Toon loan co-ordinator Shola Ameobi, where they decided that Hearts was the place for the young forward.

It was a big step up for the 18-year-old, who had previously been playing in the Australian A-League for Central Coast Mariners. However, there was a lot of excitement given the clear potential he boasts. He has been heralded as one of the best young players in world football today.

Toon fans were excited to see Kuol in action, but that has not really happened much. The speedster has only made eight appearances in all competitions for Robbie Neilson’s side.

Kuol has started just once since moving to Hearts, and that was when he played as a centre-midfielder against Rangers. He was panned by the Scottish media for his performance and was taken off at half time.

Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

The teenager is yet to provide a goal or an assist for his new club, while simply getting on the pitch and gaining senior experience is proving to be difficult.

It has led to criticism from fans aimed at Ameobi for letting Kuol join Hearts. However, he should not be blamed.

Garang Kuol chose to go to Hearts himself

At the end of the day, it was Kuol himself who decided that he wanted to go on loan to Hearts. It was reported that Eddie Howe and Dan Ashworth were happy for Kuol to choose his own destination, and a move to the Jam Tarts was what he wanted.

And a move there made sense. It enabled him to link up with some fellow Australians who he knows from international duty, including Kye Rowles who he also played alongside at Central Coast Mariners.

Having those players to lean on will be vital for Kuol, as he settles into a new lifestyle.

Photo by Serena Taylor/Newcastle United via Getty Images

Sure, it would be great if he was playing every minute of every game and banging in goals for fun. But this move was about his adaptation to life away from his home just as much as it was about football.

He is an 18-year-old lad who has moved his life across the globe, and has been given the chance to rely on some home comforts at Tynecastle.

Joining Newcastle must have been such a daunting prospect for Kuol. He is an incredibly young man, and he is still growing as a person as well as a footballer.

So while this move to Hearts might not be turning him into a Premier League player overnight, it will be easing him into life in the United Kingdom, which is where his long-term future lies.