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The livewire teenager, born in Kenya to Sudanese parents, has been granted permission to play for Australia. Goal Australia examines his progress in the A-League so far

Analysis
By Iain Strachan

Following confirmation his international clearance to represent Australia has been granted, you can expect to see plenty of Awer Mabil in green and gold during the years ahead.

Having spent time with the Young Socceroos at a recent training camp, Paul Okon's Under-20s are likely to be his first port of call as far as international football is concerned, but it's not premature to suggest the Adelaide United player has the potential to star for the senior Socceroos.

That's because despite his inexperience and limited exposure to first-team football, the 18-year-old possesses two prized qualities that cannot be taught - raw pace and directness.
EMERGING A-LEAGUE FORWARDS: 2013-14

AWER MABIL
STARTS (BROUGHT ON)
GOALS
ASSISTS (CHANCES)
SHOTS ON TARGET
PASSING ACCURACY
INTERCEPTIONS
DUALS WON
2 (15)
2
0(8)
8
81.9%
9
46%
KWABENA APPIAH
STARTS (BROUGHT ON)
GOALS
ASSISTS (CHANCES)
SHOTS ON TARGET
PASSING ACCURACY
INTERCEPTIONS
DUALS WON
3 (4)
0
1(8)
2
77.2%
3
41.2%
KWAME YEBOAH
STARTS (BROUGHT ON)
GOALS
ASSISTS (CHANCES)
SHOTS ON TARGET
PASSING ACCURACY
INTERCEPTIONS
DUALS WON
3 (7)
2
0(1)
5
76.1%
1
32.7%
CONNOR PAIN
STARTS (BROUGHT ON)
GOALS
ASSISTS (CHANCES)
SHOTS ON TARGET
PASSING ACCURACY
INTERCEPTIONS
DUALS WON
9 (6)
0
2(15)
7
78.3%
1
48.9%
BERNIE IBINI
STARTS (BROUGHT ON)
GOALS
ASSISTS (CHANCES)
SHOTS ON TARGET
PASSING ACCURACY
INTERCEPTIONS
DUALS WON
4 (5)
2
0(8)
4
81.6%
6
58.8%


We've all seen the teenager race away from defenders with and without the ball at his feet, and that acceleration will serve him well against any opponent. When he does turn on the afterburners, it's usually in the direction of the goal, a trait that invariably worries defences, creating openings to shoot or play in a team-mate.

Fortunately, just about everything else he needs to know can be taught, and, according to an interview Mabil gave to The Guardian in February, Adelaide coach Josep Gombau is on the case.

"He said I can play but I need to learn how to be smart about it," Mabil said of his Catalan tutor.

"There's a few things I've got to work on and concentrate on: when to dribble, when not to dribble; what to do off the ball, what to do on the ball.

"He wants me to express myself and understand when I lose the ball what I do to get the ball back. But the best thing he's showed me is what to do off the ball, like how to read the game."

Mabil has started two games and come off the bench 15 times for Adelaide this season and his statistics compare favourably with players of similar age, experience and attributes.

In his 618 minutes on the pitch, Mabil has scored twice from 14 shots, eight of them on target. He has also been flagged offside six times, an indication of someone at ease playing off the shoulder of the last defender.

Of the players to emerge in the A-League in recent seasons, in terms of pace and unpolished attacking potential, Kwame Yeboah, who left Brisbane Roar for Borussia Monchengladbach in January, and Western Sydney's New Zealand-born Kwabena Appiah are similar to Mabil.

For his three starts and seven appearances off the bench, Yeboah also netted twice and received plenty of attention for doing so, with his first goal the winner away to reigning champions Central Coast and the other a long-range screamer against Premier's Plate holders Western Sydney.

The 19-year-old got away six shots in his 313 minutes on the field, making him more accurate than Mabil, but he only managed two crosses and created one chance compared to Mabil's 16 crosses and eight chances.

Appiah, in three starts and four substitute appearances, has managed 17 crosses, created eight chances and supplied one assist, topping Mabil as a provider, but got off just two shots in his 262 minutes on the field, suggesting the Adelaide man is the most balanced attacker of the three, despite being a year younger than Yeboah and three years Appiah's junior.

It's not all about what happens going forward though. Attackers are expected to defend from the front in the modern game and that is especially true of Gombau's high-pressing Adelaide side.

Mabil boasts the highest passing accuracy (81.9%), has won a higher percentage of his duels for possession with opposing players (46%) and has affected substantially more recoveries than either Yeboah or Appiah.

The Reds' youngster has also won more tackles, completed more interceptions and drawn more fouls than his fellow emerging forwards, and his statistics in those fields stand up to scrutiny even when his greater amount of game-time is taken is taken into consideration.
 
All told, Adelaide have a promising talent indeed on their hands at Coopers Stadium and will surely be set to share him with the rest of Australia soon in the form of a youth international cap.

With Ange Postecoglou casting his net far and wide in search of attacking options, don't bet against Mabil lining up alongside the big boys before too long.

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