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World Cup 2022 Youngsters to watch: Yunus Musah

The former Arsenal academy graduate could be key for the USA

Name: Yunus Musah

Age: 19 (at time of writing)

Position: Central Midfield/Right Wing

Place of Birth: New York City, United States

National team career: 19 caps (0 goals)

Current club: Valencia Club de Fútbol

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Six years after hostilities ceased on after the Japanese Empire formally surrendered on the deck of the USS Missouri in Tokyo Bay on 2 September 1945, the United States was back at the tournament in 1950 but failed to feature again for another forty years.

After seven straight tournament appearances, the Stars and Stripes shocked CONCACAF when they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia in what was billed as arguably the worst qualifying performance in the nation’s history.

Since then, former national team defender Gregg Berhalter has come in and tasted defeat just nine times in fifty-four matches while championing an impressive youth movement in the national team set up with names the likes of Giovanni Reyna, Ricardo Pepi, Gianluca Busio, George Bello, Jesus Ferreira, and Brendan Aaronson highlighting the massive influence of talent 21 and younger to flood into the USMNT fold. Another one of those names is 19-year-old Yunus Musah.

A native of New York City and born to Ghanaian parents, Musah moved to Italy and began his education with ASD Giorgione Calcio before moving to London at the age of ten and entering the academy frame with Premier League giants Arsenal.

After seven years at Hale End, Musah would swap the English capital for Spain’s east coast when he arrived at Valencia CF in 2019, and it would only be just one year before he broke into the first-team fold at the Mestalla Stadium in 2020.

From the outset, Musah imposed himself in a manner that was hardly befitting of his tender age of 17 under manager Javi Garcia during pre-season and eventually became the first American to feature for Los Che.

After two full seasons, Musah already made 71 appearances across all competitions and has profiled as a tactically versatile player, capable of being deployed effectively in four or five different roles in midfield as well as the forward line, while offering pace to burn and an intelligence on the ball that Berhalter has already seen fit to focus on at the national team level.

At the time of writing, Musah has featured nineteen times for the United States and has been tipped to be given key responsibilities in a mobile 8 role in midfield along with Tyler Adams Leeds United’s and Juventus’ Weston McKennie.

One of six players under the age of 21 to feature in the US squad in their latest friendly against Morocco and Uruguay as well as the CONCACAF Nations League clashes with Grenada and El Salvador, Musah could genuinely be one of the top-performing youngsters in Qatar after already garnering considerable praise at Valencia in a starting midfield role.

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Ben Browning

Football writer and analyst. Long-time writer of all things Arsenal and avid watcher of European football. Happy to discuss all things football over on Twitter.

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