Philippe Clement, who worked with RC Lens’ Loïs Openda (23) during his time at Club Brugge, has said that he is unsurprised by the player’s adaptation to life in Ligue 1, as the Monaco manager prepares to face off against his former player.
Openda and Clement worked together at Club Brugge during the 2019/20 season with the Belgian forward eventually going out on a two-year loan at the end of that season in order to gain more first-team experience. His time at Dutch club Vitesse was a success and saw him make the move to Lens this season.
In his debut season in Ligue 1, the Belgian international has scored 15 goals in 35 games in all competitions. That form has garnered interest from across Europe, with Leeds United, AC Milan and Olympique de Marseille amongst the teams interested in Openda, according to Foot Mercato.
Clement will face his former player on Saturday when Monaco take on Lens, and responding to Get French Football News’ Luke Entwistle, the Belgian coach reflected on his time working with Openda. “I’m not at all [surprised by Openda’s quick adaptation]. We worked together when Loïs was 18, 19 years old. He wanted to be Bruges’ number one attacker, but he wasn’t ready to assume this role at a club like Brugge, who play in the Champions League,” said Clement.
He continued, “He has since made good steps. Everyone saw his qualities. He is really quick but he also knows where the goal is and is eager to be decisive. In the tough times, he’s someone who remains combative. That’s a very important quality in life, and also as a player.”
GFFN | Luke Entwistle