Adelaide United head coach Carl Veart expressed concern over teenage star Nestory Irankunda by saying “I just don’t see enough happiness from him” following his performance against Perth Glory.
Irankunda celebrated his 18th birthday on Friday by becoming the youngest player to reach 50 Isuzu UTE A-League appearances in Adelaide’s last-gasp 3-3 draw with Perth at Coopers Stadium.
The Bayern Munich-bound sensation – who has scored two goals in 15 appearances this term – came off the bench for the final half an hour as Adelaide rescued a point in the eighth minute of stoppage time.
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Irankunda is one of the biggest prospects in Australian football, with the Reds forward set to join the German powerhouse at the end of the season but Veart believes happiness has deserted the Adelaide product amid the weight of expectation.
“Nestor (Irankunda) hasn’t been anywhere his level this year (season) that we expected from him,’’ Veart told reporters post-match when one journalist made the comment that Irankunda ‘looked better as an impact player’.
“Whether the pressure is taking its toll on him, he must start and go back to enjoying his football. I just don’t see enough happiness from him at the moment.
“It’s a difficult position that he is in because everyone expects things from him and it’s important, we’re very careful of how much we expect from him.”
Asked if delaying November’s announcement regarding Irankunda’s move to Bayern could have helped the young gun, Veart said: “I suppose no one’s going to really know that was the best way for it to go.
“It (speculation) did go on for a long time and then we hoped that once it got announced he could go back to focusing on playing football.
“He needs to just keep working and it’s important that when he does eventually go there, he keeps his head down and works hard.”
Veart added: “Unfortunately, in this country, we make it very difficult for people that we see that are going to have success instead of getting behind them and trying to help them.
“We want to knock them down and Nestor takes a lot of this in, and he knows what people are saying and it’s been very difficult for him.
“Hopefully we can keep pushing him to give him a good grounding for what he wants to do.”