The meteoric rise of Garang Kuol, the new Newcastle United player.

He is hailed as one of the most promising young talents in the world, but how did Garang Kuol end up playing for Australia in a World Cup and signing for mega-wealthy club Newcastle United?

Born in Egypt to Sudanese parents who had fled their war-torn country a few years earlier, the 18-year-old attacking sensation enjoyed a meteoric rise with A-League side Central Coast Mariners under the former midfielder of Sheffield United Nick Montgomery.

Now the Socceroos rising star looks set for a bright future in the world’s most prestigious league, after joining Eddie Howe’s rising Magpies this month.


One of six brothers, Kuol, a refugee in Australia with his family, joined the Mariners’ impressive training system, then led by Montgomery, in January 2021.

Key to the teenager’s development has been the influence of Montgomery, whose outstanding work through the Mariners’ youth ranks promoted him to the first-team manager in July 2021.

“It’s an amazing journey for a young lad we signed at 16,” Montgomery, whose work with the low-budget Mariners has won the admiration of a number of British clubs, told Lesport24. .

“Within 18 months, Garang took part in a World Cup with Australia and signed for Newcastle United.

“It’s a bit of a fairy tale and I actually signed his older brother Alou, who now plays in Germany with Stuttgart, in the same way.

“Alou was playing for Shepperton, which is a small club just outside Melbourne.

“We brought Alou to the Mariners and he was also very raw and athletic, but he didn’t really understand the game.

“We signed Alou to our U23 team and within 12 months he established himself in our first team.

“He was the A-League’s top scorer after 10 rounds – coming off the bench and scoring twice – before Stuttgart bought him.

When Alou joined us, he said: “I have a little brother, he’s only 16 and he’s a different type of player than me, but he’s probably even better”.

“At the time, I was in charge of the academy and I coached the Mariners under-20 and under-23 teams.

“I just said ‘let’s get Garang here’ and we flew him in from Melbourne.

“There are three big A-League clubs in Melbourne – Melbourne City, Melbourne Victory and Western United – and none of them took Alou or Garang into their academy because they thought they were too raw .

“We did a trial with Garang at 16 and we saw that this kid was electric.

“He didn’t really understand the game in terms of team play.

“But my assistant Sergio Raimundo coached at Benfica, one of the best development clubs in the world, and oversaw the development of players like Bernardo Silva and Joao Cancelo at Manchester City.

“Sergio and I both saw Garang and said ‘if we can teach this kid to play in a team, he could be special’.”

Montgomery honed Garang’s skills before making him his senior debut in December 2021.

Kuol scored within seven minutes of coming on as a substitute in the 6-0 FFA Cup win over APIA Leichhardt.

The 17-year-old Kuol also scored on his A-League debut in April 2022 in a 5-0 win over Wellington Phoenix, before netting four goals in his first seven league appearances.

He was then selected to be part of the 2022 A-League All Stars squad which faced FC Barcelona in front of more than 70,000 spectators in Sydney last May.

Barca boss Xavi said of Kuol: “It was a big surprise.

“He’s very fast, he created a lot of chances and we conceded two or three chances because of him.

“He’s a great player and he has a great future. It’s a skill.”

Newcastle agreed a deal to sign Kuol last autumn before the player was on Australia’s radar ahead of the World Cup in Qatar.

In mid-September he became the youngest player since Harry Kewell in 1996 to be called up for the Socceroos team.

His debut against New Zealand made him the sixth youngest player to represent Australia.

Kuol helped Australia reach the knockout stages of the World Cup and, at 18 years and 79 days, he became the youngest player to play in the knockout stages of a finals since Pelé in 1958.

After joining Newcastle, the teenager is set to be loaned out for the second half of the season and could join the English Premier League or Scottish Premier League.

Magpies boss Howe recently admitted: “It is possible that Garang will train with us for a little while.

“But I think for the development of the player he needs to go out and play.

“If possible, it would be at a very good level, with a good club and a good coach.”

Montgomery, who was shortlisted for the job at Motherwell last year, will continue to watch his protege’s progress with great interest.

The 41-year-old Leeds native played for the Mariners between 2012 and 2017 before moving into coaching on his retirement.

Montgomery added: “Australia have reached the knock-out stages of the World Cup and many players have come from the A-League and are still playing there.

“The A-League doesn’t get the credit it deserves because it’s so far from the rest of the world.

“I think with Australia’s progress in the World Cup, we have realized that the A-League has a high level and produces players who can play at the highest level.

“Garang is a great example of that and everyone at Central Coast Mariners is obviously very proud of him.”

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