Christian Atsu – Dropped or opting out?
There were headlines earlier today, reported that Christian Atsu had been dropped by his country.
Not the news a player really wants to hear, only 24 hours after completing his transfer from Chelsea to Newcastle.
Ghana coach Kwesi Appiah named a 30 man squad but Christian Atsu and a number of other high profile players were missing.
The squad has been named ahead of three games in June, with Ghana taking on Ethiopia in a qualifier for the African Cup of Nations, as well as friendlies against Mexico and the USA.
The absence of Atsu and others, means that seven players from their domestic league have been called up by Ghana, the largest number in over 10 years.
It doesn’t take a genius though to work out that the headlines might be a little over dramatic.
Christian Atsu is arguably Ghana’s best player and was named in the team of the tournament in February at the conclusion of the African Cup of Nations. So a little unlikely he would be ‘dropped’.
Far more likely, and some Ghanaian online football sites agree, is that Christian Atsu and others have almost certainly been given the choice of opting out of this particular squad.
The only competitive match is against Ethiopia who are 79 places below them in the world rankings. Ghana should comfortably beat them without the likes of Atsu and others.
Looking at the timing of the games, that tends to back up this point of view.
The game against Ethiopia is on 11 June, with then Mexico on 28 June and USA is 1 July.
That USA match is only two days before Newcastle players report back for pre-season training.
So after a busy season with Newcastle and the finals of the African Cup of Nations in the middle of it, plus a permanent move at last away from Chelsea after a pointless/gameless four year stay, Christian Atsu could most definitely do with time away from football to put himself in the best possible position before the Premier League kicks off on the weekend of Saturday 12 August.
Below is the 30 man squad:
Richard Ofori (Wa Allstars), Adam Kwarasey (Brondby, Denmark), Felix Annan (Kotoko), Joseph Addo (Aduana Stars)
Harrison Afful (Columbus Crew, USA), Daniel Amartey (Leicester City, England)
Lumor Agbenyenu (Munich 1860, Germany), Daniel Darkwah (Aduana Stars, Ghana), John Boye (Sivasspor, Turkey), Rashid Sumalia (Al Gharafa, Qatar), Nicholas Opoku (B.Chelsea, Ghana), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew, USA)
Jerry Akaminko ( Eskiserhispor, Turkey), Samuel Sarfo (Liberty, Ghana)
Mohammed Abu (Columbus Crew, USA), Afriyie Acquah (Torino, Italy), Isaac Sackey (Alanyaspor, Turkey), Thomas Partey (Atletico Madrid, Spain), Ebenezer Ofori (Stuttgart, Germany), Kingsley Sarfo (Sirius, Sweden), Winful Cobbinah (Hearts of Oak), Yaw Yeboah (FC Twente, Holland), Godsway Donyoh (Nordjaelland, Denmark), Andre Ayew (West Ham, England), Frank Acheampong (Anderlecht, Belgium), Thomas Agyepong (NAC Breda, Holland)
Asamoah Gyan (Al Alhi, UAE), Jordan Ayew (Swansea City, England), Majeed Waris (Lorient FC, France), Raphael Dwamena (FC Zurich, Switzerland)
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