Manchester United’s teenage prodigy Amad Diallo has been called up for international duty with the Ivory Coast despite only having played 88 minutes of football for United’s first team.
The 18-year-old has not played a single minute of Premier League football and not started a game for United, nor for his previous club, Atalanta, for whom he played a total of 56 minutes in all competitions before joining the Red Devils.
But the Ivorian head coach, Patrick Beaumelle, has seen enough to be convinced and has given Amad a place in the squad for the Elephants’ Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers against Niger and Ethiopia.
Amad will have a familiar face with him for the games as he will be joined by teammate Eric Bailly.
The game against Ethiopia is likely to be a showdown in the competition as the two nations lie just one point apart with two games left.
If they qualify for the knockout stages, United are likely to be without both men during January and February 2022 when the tournament takes place in Cameroon.
Amad started his United career in spectacular fashion, scoring a brilliant flicked headed goal past one of the world’s best goalkeepers, AC Milan’s Gigi Donnarumma.
It is now looking possible that he will be in the starting line-up for his international side before ever being in the starting line-up for any club side, a quite remarkable turn of events should it occur.