Kekuta Manneh | Winger | Vancouver Whitecaps | Age: 20
Last Year in 24 Under 24: #12
2015 Stats: Matches played: 27 - Goals: 6 - Assists: 6
The journey from "gifted talent" to "productive player" is rarely a direct one, and Manneh's path shows as much. He endured a bit of a sophomore slump in 2014, but he has learned from it in a big way thus far in 2015. He's more creative around the penalty area and seems to better understand how to use his speed to get shots for others, not just for himself. He's understanding how to play his passes earlier, a big step for any kid.
Just as impressive has been his growth on the defensive side of the ball. Manneh was a liability in his first two years, but he has taken on new responsibilities and grown into an asset.
What the technical staffers say: "He’s [Fabian] Castillo a year and a half ago, still learning how to use his gifts every week. But you can see he’s been well-coached, he’s been played at the appropriate times, and he’s also been rested and benched at the appropriate times as teaching tools. And then he always comes back one step better.
"I’m always one to give credit to the clubs and the coaching staff and the locker room. When I played, we taught a lot through the locker room – the locker room taught the discipline part. Manneh 12 months ago was much more of a kid than he is now, and that's as much the guys around him as it is [head coach Carl Robinson]."
What Opta Sports says: Kekuta Manneh has matched his career-high six goals (2013) with six assists in 2015, tripling his previous best assist total (2 in 2013 and 2014).
- READ: Growth and consistency coming from Vancouver's "Big-game player"
- WATCH: It's all in the timing? Manneh beats the trap & finishes his run
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