‘His choice’ - Eddie Howe explains Newcastle United January transfer window departure
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Eddie Howe has revealed it was Garang Kuol’s choice to join Scottish Premiership side Hearts on loan for the remainder of the campaign.
A number of clubs showed interest in the 18-year-old after Newcastle United confirmed its intention to loan him out immediately following his switch from A-League outfit Central Coast Mariners.
Kuol’s move to Tynecastle was confirmed on Thursday evening, one week after he held face-to-face talks with Jam Tarts’ officials, as well as receiving a tour around the club’s training centre.
"I think when you give a player an opportunity to go on loan, it’s very much a personal choice,” Howe said.
“I think from a football club we can advise and give our opinion, but ultimately, it’s down to the player himself as to what his feeling is, what his gut feeling is, when he meets the manager and the coaches and visits the club.
“That’s what we did - we gave him an opportunity to go and visit people and see the environment, and Hearts was his choice, and we very much respect and back that."
United will watch with a keen eye on Kuol’s development in Scotland. The teenage forward is tipped to have a big future after becoming the youngest player since Pele in 1958 to play in the World Cup knockout stages.
Hearts boss Robbie Neilson said: “It’s fantastic news that Garang has committed himself to Hearts for the next six months.
“It’s no secret that we were extremely interested in him and he came up for a look around last week. He was impressed with what he saw and what we’re trying to do here, which is pleasing.
“We’re getting a player who is by no means the finished article but there is a lot of talent there – you don’t get called up to and play in the World Cup for nothing.
“He’ll offer us new options going forward as we look to continue our good form and continue to make progress in the league and in the Scottish Cup, and we’re really looking forward to working with him.”