‘Skilful’ and ‘flamboyant’ West Brom loanee Mo Faal wins praise for Doncaster Rovers form
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Appearances can be deceptive. Faal stands at 6ft 5ins and, notwithstanding his strength and aerial ability, he combines that with pace, trickery on the ball and an eye for a pass.
To borrow an old cliché, the 20-year-old ‘has a good touch for a big man’.
"I’m not going to tell you what I think he’s excellent at and what he’s not through fear of anyone listening.”
Doncaster’s assistant boss Cliff Byrne generally keeps his cards close to his chest and is no different on Faal, giving little away that could help the opposition.
"There’s a lot of elements to his game that people have to try and contain,” says Byrne.
Byrne, a former centre-back, joked he might have ended up being sent for an early bath if ever tasked with marking Faal, who is flourishing in his first EFL loan.
Faal has come of age leading the line for Rovers in the absence of Joe Ironside and George Miller due to injury.
“It’s a little bit of just maturing into the way we want to play and his role within that,” says Byrne by way of an explanation.
"The important bit he’s done, and the manager is terrific at this, is giving him the freedom within the role.
"We don’t want to take the skill and flamboyance out of his game. We are just trying to give him that freedom within the structure that he needs to work hard in.
"You can see the transformation in him in recent weeks.”
Byrne is keen to highlight another area of Faal’s game which has gone unnoticed.
“You get drawn to when he’s on the ball and what he does – and that’s a real big aspect of his game – but in any game you are probably only on it for four minutes if you are having a really good game,” Byrne says.
"You have got to make sure you are doing something for the other 90 minutes and Mo is a real team player.
"I believe he’s getting the just rewards for that now.”