- Name: Yann M’Vila
- Date of Birth: June 29, 1990
- Nationality: French
- Position: Central Midfield
- Club: Stade Rennais
Making His Name
French football has for quite some time now been blessed with developing some of the best and brightest talents in World football. Out of all the academies in France, one of the most revered and celebrated is Rennes’ Henri Guérin training centre. Amazingly, it has been voted the best youth academy in the country for the past six seasons.
Graduates include Sylvain Wiltord, Yoann Gourcuff, Jimmy Briand and one of Europe’s most wanted midfielders, Yann M’Vila. Now 21, the midfielder has been at Rennes since 2004 and has enjoyed a meteoric rise through the youth system, making his first-team debut in 2009. It seems strange to think he is currently playing his third season in Ligue 1. The level of ability and maturity that he shows on the pitch gives the impression he is a veteran in this Rennes side.
Recently M’Vila played his 100th game for Frederic Antonetti’s side and I’m sure the passionate manager would admit M’Vila is the first name on his team sheet. Recently Laurent Blanc admitted that the youngster was a pivotal part of his national team plans, “This team has got a spine with Lloris, Méxès, M’Vila and Benzema”
It is no surprise that Blanc regards M’Vila as the lynchpin to his national team plans, as in his three years in Ligue 1 the midfielder has been a joy to watch. Possessing excellent vision and the ability to find space on the pitch M’Vila is never rushed on the ball, rarely gives it away and completes the set with a sensational passing range.
Rarely does he get caught out positionally and he is not a last ditch tackler. M’Vila anticipates and intercepts, breaking up the opponents play before they can trouble the defence. There are few players in the World game right now better in this position than Yann M’Vila.
STYLE OF PLAY
Happily plying his trade in Ligue 1, there is little doubt that scouts will have already been made aware of M’Vila’s abilities. Various scouts would have come and gone from the Stade de la Route de Lorient, all writing glowing reports on this excellent and very talented defensive midfielder. However there was one game where the world stood up and took notice.
After a disastrous World Cup under Raymond Domenech, the rebuilding process began under Laurent Blanc and two early friendly defeats were followed by three wins in the European Championship qualifiers. Next for Blanc and France was the trip to Wembley stadium to face England. That night, although the 2-1 scoreline looks like a close game, it was a masterclass from the French and at the heart of it was Yann M’Vila.
Usually Blanc’s tactics had been to team M’Vila with a second defensive midfielder, but in a tricky away tie, the faith was put in M’Vila to pull the strings and control this game for Les Bleus. M’Vila was easily one of the best players on the pitch, breaking up the play and finding the likes of Samir Nasri and Mathieu Valbuena with excellent cross field passes. It was amazing to watch – the player running the show at the legendary Wembley stadium was only 20 years old.
Since then Blanc has more than often played M’Vila beside Alou Diarra, Yohan Cabaye or Blaise Matuidi, interesting that this is the same formation that he finds himself in at Rennes. With someone beside him M’Vila is able to create space for himself and use his wonderful abilities to find willing runners down the channels, or a defence splitting pass down the centre.
The man is a joy to watch on the football field. Graceful on the ball, intelligent without it, very rarely does he looked rushed and it takes a very hardworking midfield to force M’Vila into an error.
The only criticism would be the amount of goals he scores and the amount of direct chances he creates. With a little more aggression and a desire to push that extra five, or 10 yards forward, M’Vila would become a constant threat to the opposition.
WHAT OTHERS SAY
“Didn’t have great 2010-11 but still nominated for Ligue 1 Young Player of the Season. France’s answer to Javier Mascherano! A real gem” – Tom Williams (Journalist)
“Yann is good enough to play anywhere in the world. He is a complete player. He has a good eye for the game, he is technically excellent and he is also very good at defending and regaining balls.” – Kader Mangane – Rennes defender
Yann M’Vila’s next move will be critical to how good this young man can become. Constantly linked with moves away from Brittany to either Spain or England, most likely any move will not happen until after Euro 2012.
Laurent Blanc made is perfectly clear to the young players playing in Ligue 1 that if they were playing first team football, there was a better chance they would make the Euro 2012 squad. M’Vila soon after signed an extension to his contract and declared he would spend another season in France.
The likes of Manchester United, Manchester City, Arsenal and Real Madrid have all shown interest in the talented midfielder. The team that he decides to move to will be crucial as to how his development continues. Looking at M’Vila’s style of play, a move to Spain might make more sense.
England’s top division is a very tough, fast paced, 100 miles an hour, competitive league. M’Vila likes to get time on the ball and look for the forward pass. It’s unclear whether he would be as effective in a four man midfield and he is also not the hard tackling midfielder that Arsenal seem to lack. A partnership beside Yaya Toure could be very interesting and intriguing.
A vision of Yann M’Vila anchoring the Real Madrid midfield, spraying passes around the Bernabeu pitch in a Los Blancos jersey has a certain appeal to it. He could become one of football’s greats under Jose Mourinho and go on to lead his country to great things.
The European Championships next summer will provide M’Vila with a stage to show the watching world what he is capable of. Managers and scouts alike will be looking for the next superstar. Look no further, Yann M’Vila is already here.