Amad has gotten used to making an instant impact. He scored within six minutes of his debut for Atalanta, found the back of the net with his first shot for Manchester United and has now scored within four minutes of his first appearance for Rangers.
That kind of start is usually enough to make you an instant hero in the Glasgow hotbed and not long after giving his new club the lead against Ross County, traveling Rangers fans were shouting Amad’s name.
“Diallo, a ha, running down the wing a ha, listen to the Rangers sing a ha, we’re going to win the league,” could be heard echoing around Dingwall.
Amad is unlikely to be particularly familiar with ABBA’s Voulez-Vous and the Glasgow accent might take a bit of getting used to, but the teen would have gotten the idea.
Playing down the right flank, the 19-year-old showed great awareness to get ahead of the defender and take advantage of a Joe Aribo cross to give Rangers the lead.
It was a surprise to see Amad start as he only sealed his loan to Ibrox on Friday. The last time he played competitively was on December 8, lasting 68 minutes for United against Young Boys in the Champions League. He showed no signs of rust.
A knock finally forced him out with 25 minutes remaining and with the Old Firm game at Celtic Park on Wednesday, he will be desperately hoping he will be fit enough to start. A goal there and his hero status will be confirmed.
There was interest in Amad from clubs in the Championship and in Europe during January, but after a thigh injury ruined a season-long loan to Feyenoord in the summer, United were now keen to try him out in British football. When Rangers called and were able to offer a title run, as well as European football (a two-legged Europa League tie against Borussia Dortmund awaits), it was a simple decision.
At 5ft 8in, the winger is skinny and United need to expose him to the kind of physique he will have in the Premier League. While some loan moves for academy players may help put them in the showcase, United have already committed £19m to Amad, a fee that could nearly double with add-ons. They see him as a first team player in waiting.
So the next four and a half months in Glasgow are key to his development and the early signs are promising. His goal was smart, but his complete game was also good. He was always willing to take on the side of him and made good runs off the ball on the outside of his man, a throwback to an old wing game.
For Rangers’ equalizer early in the second half, Amad drove inside the field from the right, a blur of steps creating space to switch the ball to his left foot and, although his shot was stopped, the ball was kept alive for James Tavernier to score.
What would have particularly pleased those watching at United was the way Amad bounced back after a fierce challenge just after scoring. The winger pierced him from behind as he was trying to pick up the ball and left him lying on the ground, but his winger got up and continued to play.
It’s that kind of treatment that he’s going to have to get used to if he’s going to make a Premier League career at Old Trafford.
Yesterday was only the fourth senior game he has started in his career and while he is still only 19 years old, that is a very slim resume for someone as qualified as Amad. That makes him something of a conundrum for United fans, who have seen him look too good for under-23 football, see the potential £37m price tag and wonder why they haven’t seen more of him.
Instead, it is Anthony Elanga, born three months before Amad, who has found his way into Ralf Rangnick’s plans. Amad should be in that situation next season, but he needs to show that he’s ready while he’s with the Rangers. This was a good start.