Meet The France U-20 Star Who Plays Like Dani Alves
Several of France’s U-20 World Cup squad will fancy themselves as the best in their respective positions, and that’s especially true for premier left-back Lucas Digne.
The Lille youngster, who spent last season learning on the job throughout a packed Ligue 1 and Champions League campaign, has acquitted himself excellently in Turkey so far, and Squawka have noticed stark similarities between his and Barcelona star Dani Alves’ game.
The aforementioned Brazilian has made a name for himself as one of the most attacking full-backs in world football, arguably suiting the Selecao’s successful 3-5-2 from 2002 better than the one Luiz Felipe Scolari favours now.
For Barelona he dominates the right flank on his own, steaming forward to hit the byline and drifting inside to contribute to the buildup play.
He’s always been an explosive force and demonstrated amazing physical qualities with Sevilla as a youngster, and Lucas Digne shares many similar characteristics as a 19-year-old.
Digne is full of energy, a true engine on the field: he gets himself up and down superbly, dropping in to form part of the back line under pressure, then bombing forward to give his teammates options.
In possession he is reliable, and loves to take it down the left and open his legs out. His quickness in tight areas is impressive, and he’s a positive player who always searches for a way through his marker rather than knock it backwards.
When France have enjoyed spells of possession in the tournament so far, and specifically when the ball comes through to chief playmaker Paul Pogba, Digne can always be seen darting forward.
In fact, he’s so advanced that he’s the furthest man forward at times, leading the forward line and looking for the ball over the top of the defence.
From there he can stretch a team, peeling his opposing full-back into his own territory, hitting the byline and swinging in dangerous crosses.
He puts low balls across the box that top-tier strikers dream of turning home. Failing that, he’s got a cannon of a long throw to create further havoc.
Offensively impressive Digne may be, but he doesn’t see that as an excuse to neglect his defensive duties. Always tracking back, he starts every attack in line with his central defender and leader, with France pushing out in a balanced, prepared measure.
There’s a certain Dani Alves about Digne when he flies forward, as he too commands an entire touchline to himself. Thankfully, where France and Lille are concerned, his supreme fitness and dogged determination means he’s willing to contribute in the defensive phase too.
He’s a young man, and with it comes mistakes. Dani Alves’ Squawka Performance Score of 1,061 towers over Digne’s return of 527 for now, but the Frenchman improves with every game and is sure to become a household name in the left-back/left-wing-back role.