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‘I’m just having fun’: Mohammed Kudus on goals, Ghana and his celebrations

‘I could have stayed at Ajax but I don’t want to be complacent and comfortable,’ says Mohammed Kudus. Photograph: Shaun Brooks/Action Plus/Shutterstock

Some defenders bounce off Mohammed Kudus and most end up bewitched by his footwork. West Ham’s Ghanaian sensation is an intriguing mix of strength, skill and imagination. His technique makes him one of the most dangerous players in the Premier League but Kudus believes his steely edge owes much to his upbringing in Nima, a place that teaches you to stand up for yourself from an early age.

“Mentally it’s a very tough area,” he says. “You have to be very tough to live there. If you are soft people walk on you. It has an impact on how I play. In 50-50 challenges I don’t want to lose it. I work on my body and make sure I am very strong on the ball.”

Kudus, who has been outstanding since joining West Ham last summer, laughs when he remembers the football back home. “There are no rules over there!” he says. “It’s all in. You have to be very strong.”

Nima, a market town in the greater Accra region of Ghana, has a difficult reputation. “When you say Nima it’s like there’s a lot of violence happening there, it’s like a ghetto and you need to be street smart and tough to stay there,” Kudus says. He is out to change perceptions. “There’s a lot of professional players from there,” the 23-year-old adds. “It’s why I always keep mentioning where I come from. There can be talent as well.”

Kudus is a role model. He loves connecting with his roots but it is no longer possible for him to live his old life when he visits home. He is too famous to do normal stuff – “like going by the roadside to get some food” – but his heart is there. A mural of Kudus went up in Nima after he scored in Ghana’s win over South Korea in the 2022 World Cup; he does not feel weighed down by being a champion to so many.

Source footballghana

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