This piece is extracted from our weekly Ligue 1 Review. Read the latest edition of this excellent column here.
“This is a serious business we’re in here, it was funny on the first day of the season, it’s not funny any more. Look at Nyom run past Thauvin. You might be able to do that in the French League, you can’t do that in the Premier League.”
Although Alan Shearer’s knowledge of what’s acceptable in Ligue 1 may be questionable at best, he had a point. When the Newcastle legend berated Florian Thauvin’s attitude, work-rate and tuxedo-wearing on Match of the Day last season, the £14m signing’s form was non-existent, his demeanour arrogant and his play was completely devoid of intensity.
By January he had returned under a cloud to Ligue 1 on loan. However, after an up and down start to his second spell at OM, Thauvin is finally starting to show signs of flourishing. He was the standout player in the first half of the Sunday night encounter with Nantes and has been slowly proving that he may still have the gumption and desire to become the player his talent once dictated.
His dogged, direct and creative performance in the 2-1 win supplemented encouraging outings against Lorient and Nice as examples that his talent prevails and he may yet grow into the talismanic force that the Marseille faithful once expected him to be and light up what has been a depressing season so far.