Five youngsters worth watching from Ligue One

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Saint-Etienne, AS Monaco, Toulouse, Paris Saint-Germain and Rennes stars all feature.

Ligue One is one of the most exciting and interesting leagues to watch in European football.

The French top flight doesn’t enjoy the same reputation as the Premier League, the Bundesliga, Serie A and La Liga but there are still some fantastic young players on show, highly coveted by the big sides.

Here are five youngsters worth watching in France at the moment.

Faouzi Ghoulam (Saint Etienne)

The 22-year-old left sided defender has been having a very good season as Saint Etienne are consolidating just inside the top half of the table.

He’s a very proactive and forward thinking defender and while his passing success rate is not good at 68%, he’s weighed in with a goal and two assists, which shows how vital he is down the left of the Saint Etienne team.

Layvin Kurzawa (AS Monaco)

Another left sided defender at the tender age of just 21-years-old, he’s been a vital component of Monaco’s back four, starting every game he’s been selected for so far this season.

The most interesting stat about his game this season is how well he’s reading the play with 3.4 interceptions per match on average. That cuts off a lot of danger for Monaco and allows him to step in and remove danger before a potentially dangerous challenge is needed.

Serge Aurier (Toulouse)

Aurier is one of the most exciting defensive prospects to come out of Ligue One in recent times.

He can play effectively anywhere across the back four, which is why there has been a lot of interest in him from other European leagues.

He’s a very feisty and effective player, able to add a lot more on top of his basic defensive game; one goal, three assists and five yellow cards from 11 appearances.

Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain)

Verratti is one of the most promising holding midfield players in French football.

What he does so effectively is offer a lot of protection to his back four, using the ball well when he wins back possession with a passing success rate of just over 90%.

He makes close to three tackles per match in Ligue One as he tries to clear the danger before it reaches his back four and he’ll be a very sought after star if he helps PSG defend their title this season.

Nelson Oliveira (Rennes)

Oliveira is an out and out forward, a straight up goalscorer who has bagged seven goals so far this season, a good chunk of the 16 Rennes have scored altogether.

The Portuguese 22-year-old has a decent set of stats this season with 2.9 shots per game on average and his ability to draw fouls in key areas is also noticeable.

He’s a very slippery striker, of the Luis Suarez mould, in terms of how he moves around the final third, always looking for that crack in the opposition back four.

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