Pic: Ian Morsman
By Jon Couch
IDRIS KANU clearly has faith in The Special One – he’s gone from playing for one Mourinho to the other!
The 16-year-old former West Ham Academy player impressed on a recent trial for Jose Mourinho’s Manchester United, scoring twice for their Under 18s in a game against Middlesbrough.
But, instead of pursuing his interest with the Premier League giants, the teenage sensation has opted to drop down to the National League to sign for Aldershot Town, managed by Gary Waddock – the man dubbed by Shots fans as the ‘Ginger Mourinho’.
Striker Kanu joined West Ham at the age of 11 and broke into the Hammers’ Under 21 side at the age of just 15, working under the direction of current Shots assistant boss, James Rowe.
Now, under the advice of his agent Colwyn Rowe – James’ dad – Kanu has turned his back on the chance of an extended stay at United’s Carrington training facility in order to pursue first-team football at the EBB Stadium, putting pen to paper on an 18-month deal.
“We’re very fortunate to have signed a very talented player,” said Waddock of Kanu, who made his Shots debut in their 2-0 victory over Solihull Moors.
“He’s certainly got the potential to go far in the game, we need to make sure now that we nurture him and develop him to help him realise that potential.
“What we have to remember though is that Idris is still only 16 years old and we’ve got to manage him well. We will have to pick and choose when to play him and it’s important that expectation of him is not too high.”
Kanu comes into a re-vamped Shots side sitting outside the play-off places – but Waddock is not getting carried away with early talk of a promotion push.
“We’re pleased with where we are but there’s always room for improvement,” said the former QPR midfielder, who led the club to promotion in his first spell as manager in 2008-09.
“We are trying to build something here and the young players we’ve got, including the likes of Idris, are giving us a platform for the future.”