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Which 5 youngsters can brighten France’s Euro2016 disappointment?

With France missing a golden opportunity to win some more silverware at Euro2016, we feel it is the right time to cast an eye over the next generation of French stars.

In recent years, France has produced a lot of talent but unfortunately for any of these promising young players, they won't receive a chance to play for the national side at the moment due to the quality of competition within the Les Bleus squad.

The current French breakthrough players have had a similar experience, but have been lucky to get into the team due to injuries to senior players and the fact they had superb seasons at their respective clubs.

This article introduces five French footballers who aren't as well known worldwide. The likes of Anthony Martial (Manchester United) and Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich) will not be mentioned, as they have caught the eye of many and have already earned a lot of credit for their work.


Ousmane Dembele (Borussia Dortmund
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Ousmane Dembele is still only 19-years-old and has joined German side Borussia Dortmund this summer. Many will mention how much potential he has, but do they really know that much about him?

The attacker completed his first season for the Stade Rennais first team, after playing the 2014-15 campaign for their reserve side. He made an instant impact in Ligue 1, scoring on his professional debut against Bordeaux.

Since then, he has notched up 12 goals and five assists within 26 appearances as well as picking up seven Man of the Match awards in the process. His hard work followed up with a well deserve promotion from the France U19 team to France U21, clearly showing it has been a big year for him development wise.

Stade Rennais finished in eighth place this season, with Dembele finishing as the top goal-scorer in his first professional season. Over the years, Dortmund have been known for turning young talents into world-class players, and this wouldn't be a surprise if the same result occurs with Dembele.


Adrien Rabiot (PSG)

Adrien Rabiot is quite a well-known player, but his potential of turning into a big game player has been very interesting.

The 21-year-old has had some serious competition for a place in Paris Saint-Germain's midfield, despite completing 24 Ligue 1 appearances for the French champions last season. The PSG owners have grown fond of Rabiot and will be looking to keep him at the club for a very long time despite interest from elsewhere.

Despite being knocked out of the Champions League at the quarter-final stage, Rabiot had an impressive campaign producing three goals in seven appearances. The first came against Malmo during the group stages as PSG cruised to a 5-0 win, but his second was a key away goal against Chelsea during the round of 16.

Finally, the third one allowed PSG to take the lead at Manchester City, but unfortunately, the side couldn't hold on to it and were subsequently eliminated by the Premier League side.

Rabiot has the ability to play anywhere in midfield, but due to the several attacking options the French giants possess, he is utilised either in a holding role or box-to-box role. PSG's board see him as captaincy material, which indicates how highly they think of him already at such a young age.


Sebastien Haller (FC Utrecht)

Since making his debut in December 2014 for FC Utrecht, Sebastien Haller has been identified as a clinical striker in the Dutch league.

The 22-year-old completed an impressive loan spell with Utrecht from Auxerre during the 2014/15 season, scoring 11 goals in 17 appearances and as a result, was signed on a permanent deal at the end of the campaign.

He has been linked with a move to the Premier League in recent months, with teams like Norwich City and Sunderland with having scouted him at the start of the year, and Everton showing more recent interest.

Haller finished last season on 24 goals and five assists in all competitions. The youngster has also picked up eight Man of the Match awards with his goals for Utrecht over the course of the campaign.

With the stats he is producing in the Eredivisie, it would be a surprise if no bigger team were to attempt to sign him this summer. A player who knows where the back of the net is and who was FC Utrecht's top goal-scorer of the season, he represents an affordable option for any interested clubs.

Despite being 190cm tall, his positioning and movement off the ball is impressive – alongside his ball control.

Being French and of a certain build, Haller has often been mentioned as the 'new David Trezeguet'.


Benjamin Mendy (Monaco)

Benjamin Mendy has come across as a very versatile player, being able to play as a defensive midfielder, left-back and left-sided midfielder.

Mendy is another name that might not be familiar with people worldwide, despite having recently completed a £10million move from Marseille to AS Monaco. Although completing 24 Ligue 1 appearances for the side, Marseille had another poor season finishing in 13th place.

The 21-year-old has already experienced football at Champions League and Europa League level, as he aims to improve his development at Monaco who finished third in the league last season. Mendy has been identified as a accomplished player on the ball, contributing well to the defensive side of the game and loving to attack – which makes him the ideal player as a left-back.

During the 2014/15 season; Marcelo Bielsa was the manager of Marseille and the Argentine played a massive role in the development of Mendy. Bielsa is a fan of seeing his full-backs play a big role on both sides of the pitch, his main skill is to place a lot of faith in the young talents he brings into the first team.

Mendy was also one of the many nominees for the European Golden Boy award, clearly showing how well he has progressed as a footballer.


Morgan Sanson (Montpellier)

Morgan Sanson suffered a knee injury in April 2015, which kept him out of action for nearly six months.

Fortunately for Montpellier, the injury was helpful for them. With many Ligue 1 sides wanting Sanson, his injury meant the club were able to keep him after the summer window. The 21-year-old arrived at the club in 2013 and since then he turned into a key player for Rolland Courbis' side before the manager resigned from his duties.

Sanson's key strength is his versatility; with his favourite role being as the deep-lying central midfielder, but he can confidently play in an advanced role out on the wings. The player does seem to prefer playing in the centre of midfield, especially with his tackling, dribbling and passing skills.

After returning from his injury, he didn't complete an appearance for Montpellier until late November. However, Sanson returned in a mature manner – picking up 15 appearances in six months which he won't be complaining about. He's still very young and will be focusing on the new season ahead of him.

Sanson has a lot to his game, on both sides of the pitch, which gives him a lot of potential to turn into a big game player.

About the author

Asif Norat

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