Originally a striker, Boateng has moved further down the pitch and is currently considered a defensive midfielder in his club, due to the position slightly behind the other midfielders he tends to have during the game. While he is not a traditional holding midfielder, his ability to hold the ball and make the opening passes makes him suitable for that position.
Boateng grew up in Accra, and joined the youth academy of local side Liberty Professionals at the age of 10 in 1993. Among his team mates were Michael Essien. At the age of 16 he signed for Kalamata FC in Greece. Kalamata stopped him from appearing in the Under-17 World Cup in 1999 in New Zealand.
In 2001 he signed for Panathinaikos, one of the leading Greek clubs.
The same year he played for Ghana at the FIFA World Youth Championship in Argentina, where he took his country to the final. He was named one of the rising stars of the tournament.
As assistant manager for Manchester United, Steve McClaren had seen Boateng play against Manchester United in Champions League, and when McLaren became the manager of Middlesbrough in 2002, he tried to sign him. Panathinaikos accepted, but as he was not playing regularly for the Ghana national team, he was unable to receive a work permit.
His Swedish agent, Patrik Mörk, suggested that he could join AIK, and after months of negotiations he signed for AIK in August of 2003. In 2006, he signed with Beitar Jerusalem and in January 2009 with FC Koeln. As of July that same year he is a player of Spanish side Getafe.
On the national level, Boateng, after participating in a friedly with Ghana against French club Nice, was selected for the Ghana squad at the 2006 FIFA World Cup.
He made his first FIFA World Cup appearance on June 17 2006, when he replaced Otto Addo at half-time in the 2-0 win against Czech Republic.
He was also selected by Ghana at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
Honors and awards
- FIFA World Youth Championship runner-up: 2001