The Great Prince

Kevin Prince Boateng is perhaps the most improved player in world football in the past 14 months. A decent player for Premiership-relegated Portsmouth followed quiet stints at Tottenham Hotspurs and Borussia Dortmund; Boateng was never a bad player but he wasn’t the headline grabbing, game changing, title winning dynamo he is today.

The Prince (centre)

With the guidance of Massimiliano Allegri’s genius, Kevin Prince Boateng has found a new lease of life at AC Milan. He played an integral role in helping the club to win its first Scudetto in seven years last year, and has become one of the most important players in the legendary club’s team.

Earlier in his career, he was mainly deployed as a central midfielder. English football isn’t used to the idea of a trequartista, a player in between the lines of the midfield and the strikers. Since his arrival in Italy, Prince has been used in this position rather than in the more reserved central midfield. The extra space and license to attack has breathed new life into the Ghanaian’s game.

Throughout last season and the first few games of this year, he has been playing football with an authoritative atmosphere, taking the initiative for his team at all times. Not only does he demand the ball and make things happen from an attacking position in the field, Boateng is a tireless worker who will run his feet off chasing the ball when he nor one of his teammates have possession of it.

In one of Milan’s most important games of last season, a home game to fellow title-contenders Napoli, Prince started the game as a substitute. Boateng came into the game in the second half to get on the scoresheet and earn a 3-0 victory for the Rossoneri, which opened the gap at the top of the table to five points ahead of Inter, and six ahead of Napoli.

This season he has been even more productive for his side. Despite his team starting the year somewhat slowly, Boateng has raced out of the traps since the season began. Five is the most amount of goals Prince has ever scored in a season. This came in 2009/2010 when playing with Portsmouth. It is now October 2011 and he has already scored that exact amount of goals this season for Milan – in a total of six games.

Last weekend, on the morning of Sunday October 23rd, Milan travelled to the heel of Italy’s boot to play Lecce. The Wolves began the morning’s proceedings in the relegation zone, while The Devils were in mid-table. These facts didn’t stop lowly Lecce exploding to a 3-0 half time lead.

But – enter Prince at half time. A total of thirteen seconds is all it took for the spectators to feel his presence and intent, when KPB unleashed a stinging half volley from all of thirty yards that was just about tipped over by Benassi.

In the 49th, 55th and 63rd minutes, Kevin Prince Boateng sent the ball over the goal-line, to precede a Mario Yepes winner seven minutes from the full time whistle. Prince’s first and second goals were particularly impressive, adding to his midweek golazo in the Champions League.

It was the type of game that people say you win if you’re looking like the champions. Coming from the back a midweek European tie to an away ground the length of the country away, going into the half time break three goals down to inspiringly come back to win it 3-4. Sometimes it’s a complete team performance, and sometimes it’s one particular player that ignites the action and shoots his team to victory. This time it was the latter. And while Prince deserves the headlines he gets, Antonio Cassano also deserves a mention for his great performance that day.

With his performances so far this year, Prince has asserted with incredible confidence that he should be the first name on the Milan teamsheet. And if I’m allowed to get a bit ahead of myself for a second here, he is perhaps writing his name into the Team of The Year lists that come at the end of every season too, once he keeps this level up.


One Comment on “The Great Prince”

  1. Mz says:

    Excellent assessment of a much improved player. Boateng klaxoned his arrival into the upper echelon of Serie A players with Sunday’s performance and I look forward to seeing more of the same from him.

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