In a short summary the
U20 French side is very well balanced, unlike the U21s. Pierre Mankowski, a
long time coach in France clubs and federation has built a team based on several
strong points. These being defender Kurt Zouma from Saint Etienne, midfielder
Paul Pogba from Juventus, winger Florian Thauvin from Lille and Sanogo.
In addition this “dorsal spine” is
reinforced by goalkeeper Alphonse Areola from PSG, defender Samuel Umtiti from
Lyon, midfielder Goeffrey Kondogbia from Seville and left back Lucas Digne from
Lille (a long time prospect of PSG). All these young lad played a lot together
since U16 and U19 (for the most of them), taking time to gel and improve. The
result is a 4-2-3-1 side, with a strong defence and a versatile offence. One of
the main aspects is the midfield duet of Pogba and Kondogbia, interchangeable
in the DM or second pivot roles.
Yaya Sanogo is a regular on the team sheet, when fit since U16, and he
grew up alongside Pogba or Thauvin over this period. Indeed in 43
internationals at U16,17 and 19 levals for France Sanogo has scored a
staggering 32 goals.
A skilful and acrobatic striker, Sanogo can be compare to the young Adebayor of Monaco: tall and fast, he constantly moving and gives defenders a lot of work.
He is also quite good in front of the goal,
even if he clearly needs to improve in this aspect. He can be dangerous equally
back to goal, protecting the ball before shooting (against Greece) or with his
speed (against Ghana, with a lovely finish from the left side of the box). And
for those still worried by his knee injuries, he played 4 games with almost 90
minutes each time at 100% without any signs of pain. To be fair, like Ade
coming from Monaco, Sanogo will need to gain shape. But his skills can
definitely match with English style of play.
The Boss Wenger claimed
he wanted to see the player in U20 championship and pre season games before
taking a decision. As usual, “Arsene knows”, but I’m sure the young
lad has done his chances no harm at all, scoring in the 3-1 win over Ghana and
slotting a penalty in the 1-1 draw with the USA.
Enjoy and see you next time.