The Bundesliga is home to the brightest young talents in world football. After marking Michy Batshuayi out of Augsburg's 1-1 draw at Borussia Dortmund on Monday night - before finding the equaliser himself - bundesliga.com shines the light on Augsburg's Austrian wonderkid, Kevin Danso...
Country: Austria (5 caps, no goals – yet!)/Ghana/England
A physical specimen who stands at 6’3”, Danso has rare pace to go with his frame, hitting a top speed of 21 miles per hour in the Bundesliga this season. Born in Austria to Ghanaian parents, Danso was a striker in Reading’s youth academy; a midfielder in MK Dons’; and now turns out at the heart of Augsburg’s defence. He’s retained an eye for goal – finding equalisers against Bayer Leverkusen and Borussia Dortmund this term – but it’s at the back where he now does his best work. Batshuayi had enjoyed a hand in a goal every 67 minutes at BVB prior to running into Danso on Matchday 24. Danso won 70 percent of his challenges against the big Belgian at the Signal Iduna Park. Oh, that goal against Leverkusen also made him the club’s youngest scorer at 19 years and 46 days of age.
Watch: Danso's equaliser against Dortmund (from 1:21)
Plays a bit like: Marcel Desailly
Danso’s size, speed, position, and even gait, are eerily reminiscent of former France, AC Milan and Chelsea legend Marcel Desailly. “The Rock” was a formidable force in the air and on the ground, equally adept at playing both within the back four and in front of it. Desailly retired a World Champion; and while Danso may be unlikely to scale those heights internationally, he is part of what looks like a coming golden generation for Austria, with Hertha Berlin’s Valentino Lazaro joining him in a squad that also contains Bayern Munich great David Alaba.
Did you know?
Danso moved with his parents to Milton Keynes when he was six, and he speaks English with a decidedly home counties accent. He joined MK Dons’ youth academy at the age of nine the same year as an 11-year-old Dele Alli; before leaving for Augsburg in 2014, a season before future England star Alli was sold to Tottenham Hotspur.
What they’re saying
Danso: “In England it’s really hard to come through as a youth player, so we started to think: Where’s the best opportunity to make it as a professional football player? I knew moving to Germany would put me out of my comfort zone, but I really wanted to make it and I understood that at a young age.”
Augsburg coach Manuel Baum: “I have great respect for how he deals with things as a character and he hasn’t lost his humility even though he is a big, beefy player!”