Daniel Amartey is playing well for English Premier League champions Leicester City and Grant has some selection headache ahead of the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Uganda.
In the period that he has been Black Stars coach, it has been easy to predict Black Stars line ups. Razak Braimah is his first choice goalkeeper even if Adam Kwarasey has staked a better claim at club level. Asamoah Gyan and Jordan Ayew would play upfront. In midfield, the established Grant paid is Afriyie Acquah and Mubarak Wakaso sit in midfield. Then in defence, Baba Rahman and Harrison Afful are untouchable. So is the defensive pair of John Boye and Jonathan Mensah.
Maybe no more with that central defensive pairing. As the Black Stars prepare to face Uganda, it is potentially the one area that Grant may be forced into changes thanks largely to the form of Daniel Amartey. Or in central midfield thanks also to the form of Daniel Amartey.
Amartey’s emergence at Leicester City offers the most potent challenge yet to the established starting line-up of the Black Starrs. Thomas Partey has threatened to break into that starting line-up but the fact he is not yet a regular at Atletico Madrid works against him. If you are going to force your way into a team, you have to do a bit more than the guy who has that place and Partey has not.
Amartey’s case is different. He has not looked out of place in the English Premier League, is a regular for Leicester City and is bossing Champions League games. The sort of run that he has had in that Leicester City means is rare in a Ghana side where there are problems with consistency at club level for players.
The few times Amartey has played for Ghana, he has often been deployed in a central defensive role. He started the last Nations Cup ahead of John Boye before Boye regained his place. This season, while Boye has struggled for games in the Turkish second division, Amartey has thrived in the highly competitive environments of the English Premier League. It would be amazing if that does not play on the mind of Grant as he contemplates who starts in that opening game.
“I picked Amartey at a time when no one knew him,” Grant said after the first training session in Tamale. “What I like about the fact that he is playing consistently now is that it gives us more options which is always a good thing. We would see what happens for the game itself.”