Manchester City youngster set for first start in Ligue 1

Young Marco Lopes is set to be given a chance in Lille's starting line-up this weekend as the French side struggle for creativity.

Premier League fans will have one eye on Lille OSC this season due to Liverpool’s capture of striker Divock Origi, but Manchester City fans should also pay attention as one of their young stars, Marco Lopes, is spending the year on loan at the French club. He made a cameo appearance in both their league games so far, and could get his first start on Saturday evening.

Otherwise known as Rony, the young 18-year-old has been brought on season-long loan spell to try and add some creativity to the Lille midfield and it is something which the side has been seriously lacking for the past 12 months.

Marvin Martin was signed from Sochaux for €9 million to be the creative force for Lille, but it hasn’t quite worked out for Les Dogues. Martin got 17 assists in his last season for Sochaux, but on seven in two seasons for Lille.

Coach René Girard has said that Lopes could become Lille’s own version of Real Madrid’s James Rodriguez, after the Colombian impressed in his first season in Ligue 1. This weekend’s game against Lorient could be Rony’s first chance to shine at the Stade Pierre Mauroy.

Lille started the season playing 4-3-3 with Martin suspended, then when he was available Girard changed back to 4-3-1-2 with the midfielder playing in the No.10 role. With Martin now injured the chance is there for Lopes to start as the playmaker and make an impact for the side.

There is no doubt the play-maker is very talented and has great potential, although some have questioned his ability and work rate when he doesn’t have the ball. The secret for Lille will be to give Lopes the ball as much as possible and give him the chance to impress.

Indeed, it was the Portuguese who did the majority of the damage against the Hammers on Tuesday night (despite not getting on the scoresheet) and many Mancheester City fans on Twitter have been quick to notice his potential.

A particular source of pride for them has been the statistic that Lopes has already amassed as many assists as Manchester United starlet Adnan Januzaj this season... In 14 less games.

Could a star have been born in east London tonight - or was he already destined to be the next Cristiano Ronaldo?

Either way, the City fans have had their say: and they like what they see!

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