MAGAYE GUEYE is hoping to give manager David Moyes an international headache – by performing well enough at the Olympic Games to force his way into the full Senegal squad.
Everton’s France Under-21 international has swapped allegiances to the African birth nation of his parents in order to represent Senegal at London 2012. And if he impresses he could be in line for the African Nations Cup this winter.
Everton have suffered in previous campaigns with Yakubu, Steven Pienaar and Joseph Yobo all missing chunks of the season because of their involvement in the mid-season tournament.
Now Gueye is hoping to push his own claims.
“I’m very happy to play at the Olympics with Senegal,” Gueye explained. “I’m very, very proud.
“The coach, (former Portsmouth and Birmingham midfielder) Aliou Cisse, contacted me about three weeks ago and we had a long discussion along with my family. It was a very tough decision because I played for France and France is a very big federation, a very big team. But I think it’s good for me to try Senegal because I’ve got more opportunities to play.
“If I choose Senegal, it’s because I’ve got a big project with them. I spoke with the manager, the director of the federation and they are happy I’ve joined them. I hope to go to the World Cup and the African Cup of Nations as well. We’ve got good opportunities because we’ve got a good team.”
Senegal’s first Olympic outing will be against the hosts, Team GB, on July 26.
The Lions of Teranga will then face Uruguay and the United Arab Emirates.
“It will be more special because it’s in London,” said Gueye. “Everybody will watch the Olympics, it’s an occasion to show my football, to show that Senegal can be a great team and it will be very special for me.
“I’m very happy and I want to be ready to play that game (against Team GB). It’s very important for Senegal, and for me, and I’ll work hard now with Everton to be ready. I expect them to be tough opposition. I know they will have the likes of Craig Bellamy, Ryan Giggs and Micah Richards. Those are tough players, very good players and I hope we’ll be ready for it.”
Goodison team-mate Victor Anichebe collected an Olympic bronze medal with Nigeria four years ago in Beijing and Gueye is dreaming of following in his team-mate’s footsteps.
“It would mean a lot to pick up a medal,” he added. “It’s my first competition and my first with Senegal so it means a lot to me.
“For me it’s cool if I play well, but my first aim is to join up with the team, learn about them, learn the ambience, everything. And I think if I feel good with this team we can be great together. I’m working hard for that.”