He was once the golden boy of Mallorca’s youth system but in the four years following his introduction into the first team, Emilio Nsue has failed to live up to the extreme potential forecast as a youngster representing the Spanish youth teams. As a striker Nsue had pace and skills to dazzle opposing defenders and an early goalscoring record that suggested a bright future at the head of Mallorca’s formation, but his progression failed to materialise in the way many expected. Since making his international debut however, Nsue has produced signs of his early career with four strikes in his last two games with confidence seeping from his boots once again, indicating that maybe he could be the one to rescue Mallorca from relegation.
Despite suffering defeat in their last two games, Nsue looks a different player since a spell on the sidelines. Positional changes have affected the 23 year old’s game over the course of the 2012/13 season since being shifted around from striker to winger and then to defence at the latter end of last season. The introduction of Aston Villa loanee Alan Hutton nudged Nsue from the starting XI and onto the bench which appears to have galvanised him rather than affected his attitude negatively.
Nsue’s promise had been shrinking for some time as star performances became few and far between. He even admitted that the constant changes in position had left him unsure of how to play as he grew into a stale squad member. It became common for fans to show their disapproval towards Nsue due to the frustration of him failing to repeat his impressive showings from his earlier career, which has not been easy to overcome.
A star of the Spanish youth teams despite his Equatoguinean descent, Nsue progressed through each age level, scoring in every category from Under 16 to Under 21 level. Nsue refused to link up with the Equatorial Guinea national team until the most recent international break, instead preferring to represent Spain’s Under 23 side at the Olympic Games, but failed to secure a place in the squad. Nsue finally agreed to play for the country of his father’s birth in the FIFA World Cup qualifier against Cape Verde last week and has rejoined the Mallorca squad as though a different player.
Nsue was made captain and scored a stunning hat-trick on his debut in the 4-3 win in Malabo, giving him a surge of confidence and motivation. After enduring consistent negativity from supporters regarding the ‘burden’ of his earlier career, Nsue returned to Mallorca feeling truly valued by a set of fans for the first time in years.
The game against Deportivo La Coruna was a real hammer blow to Mallorca, losing after an abject display which hauled them towards the foot of the table again. Two consecutive wins against Sevilla and Granada had given the Islanders hope of avoiding the drop but losses to Real Madrid and Depor have made that run of results feel almost meaningless. Celta and Zaragoza picked up unlikely points against Madrid and Barca to make the situation appear bleak for Mallorca but a number of players are starting to hit some form.
Alejandro Alfaro scored four in three before the two defeats and Victor has bagged a couple in recent weeks. Tomer Hemed has become the Fernando Torres of the division as he cannot recapture any sort of form, especially the early streak of goals he managed as Mallorca rocketed to the top of the division. Alongside the front two, Nsue and Giovanni Dos Santos combine to form a frontline worthy of staying in the top division. Too often this season the defence has been to blame and on occasions the strikers have not worked hard enough for each other. The quality is there and with Nsue providing fans with a glimpse into his past, the ardent Mallorquista could finally give Mallorca back what he initially promised.