The various youth World Cup competitions are a starting block for young footballers to showcase their talent and attract interest from potential suitors worldwide.

After bagging six goals on course to the quarterfinals with France, Yassine Benzia certainly announced his intentions at the tender age of 16 during the 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup in Mexico, and was ‘Les Bleuets’ top-scorer.

Now 18-years-old, Benzia is currently a bit-part player at Ligue 1 giants Lyon. 

Rémi Garde is carefully blooding the youngster, deploying him as an impact substitute late in the game where the promising striker can use his blistering speed and dribbling ability to torment weary defenders.

Stats from whoscored.com show a mixed bag of performances from the France Under-19 international. He has made 12 substitute appearances for his club this campaign, but is yet to hit the back of the net. The single assist Benzia has to his name in Ligue 1 this term came against Lorient late last February where the speedy forward played only eight minutes.

Not particularly impressive in domestic competition, the Europa League has seen better performances from young Benzia this season. Making three appearances including two starts so far, the Frenchman has scored twice and even won man of the match award in a 1-1 against Sparta Prague last November.

Lyon manager Rémi Garde prefers to line up his side in a 4-2-3-1 formation, and although attractive on paper, the strategy could be detrimental to Benzia’s performances. The 18-year-old is the type of striker who looks to run at defenders soon after receiving the ball.

Although the young man definitely has the ability to dazzle defenders with his skill and pace, he lacks the physique, experience and positional sense to stretch defences on his own and maximise his attacking threat.

This is perfectly understandable and to be expected of one so young, but if granted time and patience from his manager, Benzia will soon learn the demanding art of playing alone up front at the elite level. If the Lyon prodigy is properly nurtured, Benzia certainly has what it takes to develop into one of the most formidable strikers on the planet.

What is your opinion of Yassine Benzia? Is he really the future superstar we saw at the 2011 Under-17 World Cup in Mexico? Tell us what you think in the comments below.


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