Guinea national team boss Paul Put says Naby Keita is closing in on a return from injury and will play for his country at the African Cup of Nations in Egypt during the summer – but admits he has put significant ‘pressure’ on Liverpool to let him go.
Keita missed the Champions League final having been injured during the semi-final against Barcelona, but has been desperate to be back in time to play for his country.
As Guinea’s best player by a distance, they are understandably keen on him being back, fully ready or otherwise, as well.
The Guinea coach said, according to Foot224: “Keita leaves [Liverpool] after training in the morning and arrives Monday [evening]. I put a lot of pressure on Liverpool to [send him] as soon as possible.
“In the end, I said that if Naby does not come now, it will be difficult to put [him on] the list for AFCON. He said he will play against Egypt [in a pre-AFCON friendly on Sunday].”
Rushing him back is not beneficial to anyone – he needs to be right, otherwise lasting damage could be done.
We can only trust that Keita and the Reds’ staff make a sensible decision. If he goes to the tournament and is fit, that could be good for the Reds, and he could put himself in a good place to start next season on fire.
Guinea’s attitude of pressurising him to get on the pitch no matter his physical condition, though, is slightly concerning, and is not helpful for anyone.