Here we look at young players in French football who we believe have the potential to become the next big thing. At the age of 17, Troyes striker Corentin Jean has already proved he is one such player and here we look at his past, his present situation and what he can aspire to become in the future:
Jean started his footballing career at the young age of 6 when he joined the youth setup of U.S Chemery Mehers St Romain. He learnt his basic understanding of football here and after 7 years at the set up, in 2008, he went to local side Blois Foot 41, who are currently in the CFA 2 and have nurtured players such as Valencia left back Aly Cissokho in the past. Whilst he was here, Rennes, who are recognised across Europe for their wonderful set up, looked at the player many times, but decided against offering him a youth contract due to his small size and lack of strength. In 2010, however, it was all change for Jean when Troyes’ director of excellence Claude Robin spotted the player and immediately felt he had something special. He had this to say on the player:
“No club was looking at him, but when I saw him I wondered how anyone could miss the player.”
Jean spent a further two years at the youth academy before getting his chance. Out of nowhere, the player started away at Rennes in November 2012 in the Coupe de la Ligue and although Troyes ended up losing the game 1-2, Jean put in a brilliant performance capped off with a wonder goal. After this, Jean has received much playing time, but after not scoring in the league for almost three months; compounded with a dreadful miss against Lyon which could have got his side a vital point, fans were getting impatient that Troyes boss Jean-Marc Furlan was playing the 17 year old over much more experienced strikers. Furlan hit back at critics by saying that Jean was their best striker and the player has since repaid his manager with a world class run of form which has included two goals in a brilliant 4-2 win against Reims. Whilst both these goals were down to keeping errors, the second finish did show real class: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4alNkahVbM.
His goal against Montpellier was even better than the latter as Jean runs the length of the pitch before burying the ball into the corner of the net: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8GD2D0miG3YAll in all, the player has shown signs of class and composure at such a young age, but whilst he is already being touted by many as a star of the future, the reality is that he is still fairly unproven. Troyes look set to go down to Ligue 2 at the end of the season and this will be a great chance for Jean to play week in week out at a slightly lower level and establish his game. Any move now for the player would be a poor decision as it is one that could really disrupt his development.
Jean, as Rennes pointed out years ago, is not the physically strongest and does often get pushed of the ball. He will build muscle and therefore get stronger with age. However, at the age of 17, he has plenty of time to solve this problem. He is also very good on the ball and as we have seen, has a great eye for goal. He can play up front by himself or with a partner.
Jean is also being tipped to be a future French international and has played in the under 16, 17 and 18 national teams, including playing in the Under 17 European championships in Slovenia, but France failed to make it past the group stage.Overall, Jean clearly has the ability to be a future star of French football, but a such a young age, he needs to be carefully managed to make sure his career does not go astray.