By Ameenu Shardow
Follow on Twitter @alooameenu
AC Milan star Michael Essien is backing the inclusion of youngster Afriyie Acquah in Ghana’s squad for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
The 22-year-old has been in superb form for Parma this term – propping up his chances of returning to the Black Stars squad for the world showpiece this summer.
On loan from German club TSG Hoffenheim, the ex Palermo man has made 19 appearances for Serie-A and has earned plaudits from his coach Roberto Donadoni for his consistent displays.
And now experienced Michael Essien believes Acquah’s youth and agility could be a positive for the Black Stars at the World Cup despite facing intense competition in the midfield department to clinch one of the available 23 slots.
"I had the opportunity to get to know Acquah during one of the recent national team training camps,” Essien disclosed to BBC Sport.
“He is a player with great talent and has his head firmly on his shoulders. If he can maintain his desire to work hard and keep developing, he could become one of the future pillars of the Ghana team.
"I believe that already in Brazil he will be able to play an important role in helping us get as far as possible in the tournament."
Acquah’s surge in form has complicated the selection of coach Kwesi Appiah for the tournament due to the several quality midfielders he has to chose from.
The youngster could however profit from the uncertain form of some of the key Black Stars players in recent times to make the squad for the World Cup in June.