Profiling The Rising Stars of French Football

The World Cup winner in 2018, France, is one of the most respected nations in football. While they were unable to lift the giant trophy again four years later, they reached the final in the 2022 edition of the tournament. Lionel Messi and Argentina beat France in Qatar, but it may not fare as well if the two nations meet in 2026. France has some of the best young talents in the game, and we have highlighted a few of them below. These players will likely impact France’s football scene in upcoming years.

1. Warren Zaïre-Emery

Warren Zaïre-Emery is one of the most talented and exciting players to come through the French academies in recent years. If you ever placed a soccer bet on Paris Saint-Germain and watched one of their games, you likely noticed the fancy footwork and dynamism of Zaïre-Emery.

The 17-year-old still has a lot of growing to do, both physically and mentally, before he is ready to be a senior superstar. But if his youth career and early days at PSG are anything to go by, he could rise to the top of the sport. France may have their spiritual successor to Zinedine Zidane in Warren Zaïre-Emery.

2. Mathys Tel

Playing as a center forward for Bayern Munich requires a lot of quality, which is why Mathys Tel is highly rated in the sport. The young French center-forward is the number-two striker at Bayern in the 2023-2024 season, given the club’s purchase of Harry Kane from Tottenham.

While Tel is still waiting to become a regular starter at his club, he is already a star at France’s youth level. He will undoubtedly be hoping to establish himself as Bayern’s number-one striker in the next few years. Playing regularly at club level will make it easier for him to pursue a spot on the Les Bleus senior squad.

3. Rayan Cherki

Seen as the next superstar of the French game, Rayan Cherki is already raising eyebrows and gaining the interest of football fans around the world. A winger who plays for Lyon, Cherkis is equally capable of playing off the left or right wing.

His dribbling, pace, and technique stand out, even at such a young age. While he may not have the composure or decision-making of a more experienced attacker, he makes up for it through his flair and work ethic. Cherki has all the qualities to move up the club ladder and eventually earn a spot in the French national team.

4. Desire Doue

This talented midfielder is a regular with Rennes in Ligue 1 despite only being 18. He is an impressive passer who is also not shy of going in for a 50–50 tackle. Doue may only be in the early part of his career, but he already plays with the maturity and discipline of a seasoned veteran.

With terrific dribbling, flair, agility, and first touch, Doue has all the qualities modern teams seek from a central midfielder. He can help transition defense to attack, join in a high press, and drop back to defend his box when necessary.

5. Guillaume Restes

An outstanding young goalkeeper who is already a regular for his club Toulouse, despite only being 19, Guillaume Restes is the long-term successor to Mike Maignan in net for Les Bleus. He is primarily known for his outstanding reflexes, penalty box domination, and ability to pass out from the back.

While Restes still has to develop aspects of his game, he could soon find himself at an even bigger club. When teams from the English Premier League send scouts to watch Ligue 1 matches, he is one of those who is likely to impress and jump to the top of most teams’ transfer wishlists.

How France Dominates Other Nations in Youth Football

The French have established an outstanding academy network that brings them top talent from around the region and other parts of the globe. Due to its historic relationships with many African nations, France has pathways where young players can immigrate into the country to gain citizenship and one day represent the national team when they turn professional.

Aside from its work in securing the best talent, France also prioritizes its facilities and coaching setup. Players get a chance to play with top players in their age group at outstanding facilities and in the presence of top-tier coaches. As long as the work continues in French academies, Les Bleus will be one of the favorites to win a World Cup or European Championships.

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