There is an age old belief within football circles that you cannot win anything with a side dependant on youngsters, yet me being the firm believer in youth development that I am, I cannot help but hope that the young stars of the future on display at the 2016 UEFA European Championships take this opportunity that fate has afforded them to make the world of football sit up and truly appreciate the magnificence that these wunderkinds have been created to grace us with. A plethora of talented players will be keen to showcase their talent in the 15th edition of the UEFA European Championship; we at GSV would like to hone our binoculars in on the u/23 players that will be looking to etch their mark on the global game, without further ado, we present to you the UEFA EURO 2016 Young Guns To Watch. Prendre plaisir!
DoB: November 14th, 1993 (22)
PoB: Yaoundé, Cameroon
Nationalities: French, Cameroonian
Position/s: Fullback, Wingback, Ball-Playing Defender, Stopper Defender, Cover Defender (Left, Centre)
Height: 1, 81m
Club: Olympique Lyonnais
Club Career Record: 170 Games, 5 Goals, 3 Assists
National Team Record: N/A (French Youth International)
The Grand Stand View
Is often noted how one man’s misery can often pave the way for the extreme fortune of another; one wouldn’t be remiss to ponder if Samuel Umtiti would have seen his surprise inclusion in the final 23 become a reality if Kurt Zouma hadn’t suffered his unfortunate leg injury. The rise to prominence of Umtiti has been a notable one in French football circles with some rating him as akin to a young Mamadou Sakho at PSG; the high praise is not lost on the talented former France youth international, who has seen his star continually rise as he develops further.
An extremely competitive yet agile defender with good strength and timing in the tackle, Umtiti has already amassed a reputation for himself as a gifted no nonsense defender who is unafraid to get stuck into challenges. Strong yet mobile, Samuel has the physical gifts to excel at the international level and develop into a great partner for Zurt Zouma or Raphael Varane in years to come. The defensive future of French football looks good when one considers some of the players they have at their disposal.
One cannot deny how the pressure has increased on defensive players to become more than just the direct “hoof-it-down-the-line” type of ball distributors in most teams, Umtiti is able to acclimatise quickly to the demands of elite level football due to his dexterity with the ball at his feet; for a defender, the Lyon man adds a different offensive dimension to a team when he looks to exhibit his good passing skills by playing from the back. Versatile and combative, the role of Samuel Umtiti in the team may grow in importance as the tournament gets on in games and some players begin to feels the after effects of a long season without much rest afterwards.