LaLiga: "Camavinga has the skill-set to play for Real Madrid"

Julien Stéphan, one of Europe's rising coaches, spoke to AS about the 17-year-old, one of the stars of the future.

LaLiga: "Camavinga has the skill-set to play for Real Madrid"
Foto: Max PPP

Julien Stéphan (France, 1980), one of Europe's rising young coaches at Rennes and the son of Guy Stéphan, Didier Deschamps' right-hand man in the national side, spoke to AS about his career so far and Rennes' 17-year-old star.

At 39 you already have experience and won the French Cup...

I started at 24, which means I've been organising training sessions, giving talks and gaining experience for 15 years. I worked with young players from youth set-ups for a long time, and then became coach of Rennes' B teams; I try to pass on everything I've learned.

Your father, Guy, is Deschamps's number two in the national side. I presume both know how to stop Mbappé?

That's very difficult. Mbappé has scored over 30 goals in all competitions this season. He has everything: speed, technical ability and incredible confidence. I see him hungry to win many trophies; he's only 21 and will get better and better as time goes on. He has everything to be one of the best strikers on the planet and perhaps win the Ballon d'Or.

From one young star to another, how did you discover Camavinga?

He was playing before for Rennes' youth sides. He should have been with the Under-16s, but played the whole season with the Under-17s... at that point I watched him play a lot and discovered him that season. In December 2018 I became head coach and got him training with the first team because I had seen his potential early on. I don't regret it.

Were you not afraid of throwing him in too soon?

I didn't really notice whether he was 16 or 20. Age doesn't matter with talent and when someone's ready, they're ready. We tried to prepare him to train with the first team and there were many signs that it wasn't too soon. We knew it would work out and we gave him a chance at the end of last season. And he took it.

Do you think he has the skill-set to play for Real Madrid?

Definitely. In the near future I can see him playing in a structure at the highest level and with all the demands that come with it. Following his progression, he has the potential and the qualities required to be part of a top club one day.