“If you’re good enough, you’re old enough!” The cliche mantra that all aspiring young Olympique Lyonnais academy players whisper to themselves as they drift asleep every night, it’s also a mentality that runs rich through the veins of the clubs DNA. From the president Jean Michel Aulas and to the supporters Lyonnais and worldwide, it’s no longer a well kept secret that the club is topped to the brim with young talented players all fizzing to become the next breakout star, and add their name to the rich list of stars to have passed through the colours of Olympique Lyonnais.Continue reading “Out With The Youth, In With The Youth”
Benzema, Lacazette, Martial, Tolisso, Ben Arfa, Umtiti, Fekir, Aouar, Lopes etc… Okay! We get it! The Olympique Lyonnais academy conveyor belt’s ability of producing quality footballers, gift wrapped and ready for a high level international career is well documented, and to quote Moussa Dembélé #IfYouDontKnowNowYouKnow! Around the academy is an incredibly successful recruitment cell led by OL’s secret weapon and chief recruiter Florian Maurice, whose ability to still find hidden gems at low prices in this modern age of football is both astounding and vital to the OL DNA and its ongoing success.
Despite only Anthony Lopes and Nabil Fekir left at the club (Jordan Ferri is currently out on loan to Ligue 1 club Nîmes Olympique), supporters and onlookers have become accustomed to the revolving door of exciting young talent passing from the academy through to the first team. Youngsters at the club are drawing more and more attention from supporters and the footballing world alike as the next big talents.
The strong generation of Ferri, Lacazette, N’jie, Grenier, Fekir, Umtiti, Tolisso, Benzia, Plea and Lopes, most of whom came into prominence during Rémi Garde’s tenure as coach between 2011-14 came to fruition during the 14-15 season under new coach Hubert Fournier. Fournier himself greatly benefited from the trust that Garde was somewhat forced to place on the academy players coming through at the time. Since these players came through, there had been a frustrating gap in quality between the reservists and the first team causing OL to rely more on canny and smart recruitment. Now it’s far different, the current crop of u19 players (not to mention a handful of 15/16 year olds), are already starting to knock on Genesio’s front door for a first team place.
Amiens SC are hosting OL on Wednesday night in the round of 16 in the Coupe de la Ligue. Coming off the high of qualifying for the Champions League round of 16, most OL fans can be forgiven for not highlighting this match in the calendar with great importance.
Lyon’s first, last and only trophy in the Coupe de la Ligue came in 2001. In fact OL are more of the bridesmaids of the competition rather than the bride, as they equal AS Monaco with the most runners up “trophies” since the current competition started in 1994. Tonight OL can start their romantic journey to become the unsuspecting bride or simply be another ugly “one-match-stand”, to suppress into the subconscious memory bank.
Wednesday, December 19th
Stade de la Licorne, Amiens
It was announced yesterday that Lyon academy graduate Jordan Ferri has left on loan to join Nîmes Olympique. While not a fresh face out of the academy, he has only known Olympique Lyonnais as a professional player. It’s a new chapter for Jordan Ferri in a career that has never reached the heights of other famous OL graduates.
Beyond Comparisons – Respect the Name
Kante, Touré, Pogba…These are just some of the names to whom Tanguy Ndombélé is compared, which helps people with limited knowledge about him to have a sense of who this next starlet from France is and could be in the future. But to all Olympique Lyonnais supporters and Ligue 1 followers who have had the pleasure of watching him tear through midfields for the past year, it comes as no surprise to see this midfield monster being linked to almost every top side in Europe, as well as receiving his first national team selection.
Regardless of the injury to Corentin Tolisso, it was only a matter of time until Deschamps could no longer ignore Ndombélé’s all conquering performances for OL. As the trend typically goes, people outside of France don’t bat an eyelid at Ligue 1 unless their clubs are linked to the “next *insert cliché name here” star from France. It’s a shame because unlike so many French midfielders before him, Ndombélé is a completely different entity, a player that deserves more credit than merely being linked to a big money move abroad. Ignore the comparisons in the upcoming months and years because soon, we are not going to be talking about the next somebody but the first of a new wave of all action French midfielder.