Peterborough United boss pleased with progress of youngster after Championship debut

Poku in possession against Coventry. Photo: Joe Dent.Poku in possession against Coventry. Photo: Joe Dent.
Poku in possession against Coventry. Photo: Joe Dent.
Darren Ferguson says that he is pleased with the progress Kwame Poku has made after he made his Championship debut for the club on Friday (September 24).

Poku (20) signed for the club in the summer from Colchester for a six-figure fee but the club have been keen to manage expectations about when fans may see the best of the player who can play in a variety of positions, including central midfield, number ten and out wide.

After his signing, Co-owner Darragh MacAnthony said: “We first made a bid for him 18 months ago, which was rejected, so we’re glad to have him now. He’s technically excellent with perhaps a slight weakness in his end product, but we tend to improve young players.

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“There’s no rush with Kwame. It could be after Christmas when we see the best of him.”

He has mostly featured for the Under 23s this season, making the bench for just the third time in the league against Coventry. His Posh debut came as a starter in the number ten role in the Carabao Cup defeat to Plymouth in August,

He has impressed in youth football though, scoring scored twice against Watford and once against Bristol City Under 23s and it has been a mixture of those impressive performances along with his levels in training that has convinced Ferguson to bring him closer into the first team fold.

He said: “I’ve known about him for a couple of years, he’s one we have kept an eye on. The season before last with Colcehster he was very good. As young players do, he’s dipped a little bit but we’ve kept an eye on him and I think we got him at a good price.

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“He’s a player full of potential, good balance, can get a goal, can assist, can play wide and can play as a 10. He’s taken a bit of time to get going because, when he came to us, he’d just recovered from Covid which obviously set him back and he’s just getting to understand what we’re all about, the structure and how we play and getting the fitness.

“I have to say though, the last two or three weeks, he’s kicked on, his training sessions have been good and his performances in the Under 23 have been excellent.

“When I saw that, that elevated him onto the bench and he got 45 minutes and for 30 of them it was difficult because of the way the game turned out but I thought he was good in terms of trying to get on the ball and his temperament. He’s now got a taste of it and knows he has to move the ball quickly against these kinds of players and can’t get away with things we would have done before.”

Poku made 64 league appearances in the last two seasons for Colchester and even debuted at senior international level for Ghana in March this year. He came on for the final ten minutes of their World Cup qualifier against Sao Tome and Principe, so he has plenty of experience to call on.

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Despite this, Ferguson has stressed the importance of patience. When asked whether it would take Poku between six months and a season to get up to speed, he suggested that it could be even longer than that. He said; “We think with Kwame it will take a bit longer. We’ve done what we always do, we’ve brought in younger players with real potential. The hope and the aim is to give them an experience in the Championship for a season, we’re still here next year and that will kick them right on. If I see things that will accelerate that then they will come into the team and be part of that early.”

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