- Tuesday, 26 June 2012
- Written by Modou Lamin Beyai
After a steady stream of unfamiliar additions in the last six months, this one may be a name you’ve heard before. While Abdoulie “Kenny” Mansally never really established himself as a starter in his 5 seasons with the New England Revolution, the 23-year old did play in 89 matches while there.
However, there’s something new and different that you may recognize about the former Rev and Gambia international, and it’s not just the uniform that he’ll be wearing. It’s the position he’ll be playing.
While the speedster was featured exclusively at forward in New England, he’ll be suiting up at left back for RSL. “When I came here, I came for left back,” the Gambian international said in an interview on Friday.
“That’s what I’m working for. I played in the reserve game and the last 20 minutes they played me at forward but otherwise I played left back.” According to Mansally, that’s more of a natural fit for his game.
“I feel more comfortable playing left back because on my national team that’s what I play,” he explained. “Most of the time if I play left back I [have] one of my best games. For me to come to this league playing forward, I like to go forward and score goals, but I prefer playing left back and then go forward.”
His new coach agreed that fullback is the correct spot for Mansally. “We brought him here to be an outside back – that’s where he played in all of our training sessions,” said Jason Kreis.
“That’s where he played in the reserve game for the majority of the minutes. He’s a versatile player, we know, which is always good. Maybe in a pinch we could consider him to play forward which is where he played for New England, but for us we’re mainly focused on him at outside back.”
Mansally compares his pacey style of play to another left back, French international Patrice Evra. “I bring a lot of speed going forward. Every time I get the ball, I’m looking to go forward. I’m bringing my speed here, and hopefully will help the team going forward anytime we need it.”
“Every left back in the world – Evra and all those players – the way they play is to go forward. Once you go forward, you get more opportunity.” So will Gambians and the Major League Soccer get to see Mansally in his more natural position any time soon?
According to Kreis, it could be sooner rather than later especially given the fact that normal left back Chris Wingert slided in centrally against San Jose due to the health of Jamison Olave. “I don’t know,” said Kreis, “we’re considering throwing him into the mix soon.”
For his part, Kenny Mansally is focused on taking advantage if he gets the chance. “It’s a good opportunity for me. For me to come to one of the best teams in the league, I just feel proud. I feel glad to be here. I just want to work hard and start playing. The formation is different but once I’m here I get used to it, and I’ve got to catch up on a lot of things, but I’ll get used to it. I’m just going to work hard and keep doing what they tell me to do.”