Monday, June 21, 2021
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Monday, June 21, 2021

African Legends Cup of Nations: Yaya vs Essien

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There are no question marks about Toure’s ability to settle games at the highest level, with some arguing that he deserved to win the PWA Player of the Year award ahead of Luis Suarez in 2014.

Here was a player who decided the biggest games and who could dominate the most high-profile matches, with his exceptional performance in the 2011 FA Cup semi-final victory over United an ideal example.

On this occasion, his physicality, dynamism and relentlessness in the heart of the park proved too much for Michael Carrick and Paul Scholes, two fine performers themselves.

Toure is, along with Frank Lampard, one of only two central midfielders to have hit the 20-goal mark in a Premier League season, and will be remembered as one of Africa’s most talented players.

In his prime, before injury struck, Essien was a complete central midfielder.

He could tackle, he could drive forward with the ball at his feet, he could pass, and, on occasion, would weight in with a goal or two.

His strength, energy and determination were all key attributes, and Essien was intelligent enough, and versatile enough, to be drafted into a right-back role when required.

The Bison was twice signed by Jose Mourinho, who he refers to as Daddy, and could have had an even higher score here had injury not intervened.

Essien: 22 Yaya: 23

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