Football

Samed: Who is RC Lens midfielder that received maiden call-up to Ghana’s World Cup squad?

Goal.com

GOAL digs into the journey of the 22-year-old who is set to make his debut for the Black Stars in Qatar

Salis Abdul Samed was among the surprise inclusions in coach Otto Addo’s 26-man squad for the 2022 World Cup.

The Racing Club de Lens midfielder was the biggest beneficiary after injury ruled out Real Mallorca’s Baba Iddrisu from the tournament but his club form suggests his selection was merited.

As he prepares to make his Black Stars debut, GOAL looks at the 22-year-old Accra-born star’s journey to the top.

Who is Salis Abdul Samed?

The central midfielder is a product of Ghana’s JMJ Academy where he honed his skills before joining Clermont Foot in 2019, then in Ligue 2, on a two-year loan deal.

He made his debut for the club in a 2-2 (5-4 on penalties) Coupe de la Ligue loss to Lens two months later and after making 12 appearances for the club, he made the move permanent the following season.

Getty

The midfielder signed a four-year contract but only stayed for two of those before he moved to Lens in the 2022 summer transfer market in a deal worth €5 million after making 44 appearances while scoring one goal for the club.

Mainstay in Lens midfield

At Lens, the midfielder has been undroppable, starting and completing 90 minutes in 15 matches, with the club emerging as the closest challenger to Paris Saint-Germain for the Ligue 1 title, sitting second on 36 points, five behind Christophe Galtier’s men heading into the World Cup break.

A no-nonsense midfielder, whose combative style has won him admiration among Lens fans, Samed is adept at breaking up play while his anticipation and interception are also great, making him potentially the perfect partner for Thomas Partey in Ghana’s midfield.

Samed Abdul Salis of Lens and Ghana.Backpagepix.

This is evident from his stats in the French top flight where he is ranked the player with the most fouls on 37, three more than Frenchman Mounaim El Idrissy of AC Ajaccio, as he averages 2.5 per game.

When did he join Ghana?

The midfielder was set to make his Black Stars debut in the Kirin Cup in Japan in June but missed out due to ‘personal reasons’ as Addo sought to test a number of players in the invitational tournament.

He was rumoured to have turned down an invitation as one of the reserve players during the 2023 Africa Cup of Nations qualifiers but he refuted those claims during a past interview.

“It is not that I didn’t want to come. I’ve been at Clermont for two good years without playing. I’m now playing and at that time, I had a knee problem, my knee was paining me a little bit,” he told Joy Sports in September.

He was not called up for Ghana’s two friendly matches against Brazil and Nicaragua two months ago but now has an opportunity to show his true qualities on the biggest stage, having received his maiden call-up on Monday.

What is the immediate assignment for Samed?

A scorer of an unfortunate own goal as Lens beat his former team Clermont 2-1 in Ligue 1 on Saturday, Samed will likely be tested in Thursday’s friendly match between Ghana and Switzerland as Addo looks to see how he will play alongside Partey.

World Cup squad Ghana Ayew Kudus ParteyGOAL

Should he pass the test, then he will most likely start in midfield in the Black Stars opening World Cup game against Portugal on November 24.

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