The future left-back slot in French football is filled with promising talents. Many of you might have heard about Lucas Digne of PSG and Layvin Kurzawa of Monaco the two front runners for this position who are already a part of Didier Deschamps’ French national team. Despite Nice’s struggles near bottom of French table this season, Jordan Amavi has outperformed them and has established himself as one of the finest full backs in Ligue-1. His 147 interceptions are better than any other players in Europe’s top five leagues this season.
Who is Jordan Amavi?
Born in Toulon,France on 9 March 1994, Amavi joined Nice’s youth set-up in 2010. He remained a part of youth team for three seasons and was promoted to the first team last season, making his debut on the opening game of the 2013-14 season against Olympique Lyon. During his first season with the club the youngster struggled for consistency and a little bit physically. He managed only nine starts in his 19 appearances. However, he was given his first professional contract at the end of the season.
At the beginning of 2014-15 season, the departure of Nice’s permanent left-back Timothee Kolodziejcza to Sevilla ensured him a starting place. Since then, he has been ever present in the starting line-up this season, making 33 appearances thus far.
Amavi at international level has represented both the Under-18s and Under-20s, where he was included in the side that finished runners-up to Brazil in the Toulon Tournament held last summer. His early season form also earned him a call up to the Under-21 squad, making 2 appearances. Last month, France Under-21 coach Pierre Mankowski has named Amavi in his 20-man squad for the upcoming friendlies against Estonia and Netherlands.
Style of play, strengths and weaknesses
The young Frenchman is showing tremendous potential as a modern full-back. He is a lethal weapon in getting forward and a competent performer defensively. He excels as a playmaker with his dribbling skills, pace and is a constant threat, overlapping up the line. While going forward he averages 1.9 dribbles and 76.5 touches per game, which is the best among Nice players and shows how comfortable he is with the ball at his feet.
His athleticism and tremendous work rate are quite impressive when compared to other full backs of his age. He is strong in the air, much like Digne and good at dribbling like Kurzawa, but what sets him apart from them is that no one has made as many interceptions as Amavi this season. He averages very high in interceptions, – which says much about his positional sense. The left-back has made 147 interceptions (i.e, 4.3 per game), 159 clearances and six blocks, proving his ability to read the game.
His aerial ability is another impressive attribute, having won 53% of his aerial duels and scored two goals with his head. Statistically speaking, he has won 105 tackles (i.e, 4.1 per game) this season with a success of 50%, indicating that he is not quite perfect at tackling. As a left sided full back, he has an excellent right foot and draws free kicks due to his ability to dribble with the ball. If he continues to improve his performance, both in an attacking and defensive sense, he can become one of France’s best left-backs.
Considering the completeness in defending, his attacking ability is a highlight. However, his crossing can be inconsistent. An average of 0.9 crosses per game is worse than his competitors. The only defensive weakness is his disciplinary record. Having committed 49 fouls, he has picked up nine yellow cards process. To make him versatile, manager Claude Puel has used him as a left wing back and defensive midfielder. But moving to a top club playing counter attacking or possession based football will help him to rectify this weaknesses.
He deserves immense credit for maintaining his consistency and gaining a full back tag despite to his attacking capabilities. Considering this as his breakthrough season, Amavi is playing above expectations.
What does the future hold?
Still a developing talent in his breakthrough season Amavi has tremendous potential and could be turning out for one of Europe’s top clubs as soon as next season. But he needs guaranteed game time to catch up with the likes of Digne and Kurzawa and then breakinto the French national team.
Jordan Amavi has the potential to become a truly world class full back. He is playing exceptionally well for OGC Nice. His defensive stability and consistency this season set him apart from the rest. But he needs a better club than bottom of the table Nice to continue his further development.
Written by Akhil Mathew
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