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Ligue 1: Meet Rennes' 16-year-old prodigy Eduardo Camavinga, who starred in shock win over PSG

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Meet Eduardo Camavinga: Rennes’ 16-year-old midfield prodigy misplaced just ONE pass as he inspired his side to a shock win over PSG… so, just who is French football’s next wonderkid?

  • Eduardo Camavinga starred in Rennes’ shock victory against champions PSG 
  • The 16-year-old dominated the midfield on Saturday and registered an assist
  • The starlet’s progress is reportedly being closely tracked by Arsenal and PSG
  • Here, Sportsmail takes a closer look at French football’s newest rising star 

Eduardo Camavinga spectacularly announced himself on the global stage after a dominating performance in Rennes’ surprise victory against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday.

The 16-year-old midfielder earned countless plaudits after a mature all-round display against Thomas Tuchel’s side, and has reportedly drawn the attention of the Ligue 1 champions and Arsenal.

Here, Sportsmail delves deeper into the youngster’s rapid rise to first-team football, what attributes make him such a midfield menace and what could potentially lie ahead for him in the future.

Who is he? 

Camavinga is a 16-year-old midfielder who rose through the ranks at French top flight outfit Rennes. 

He has been prominently deployed as a defensive midfielder throughout his senior career, often with limited license to push forward. But it is clear he possesses the traits required to mature into a classy box to box destroyer.

His breakout performance came in Saturday’s victory against Paris Saint-Germain, in which he even recorded an assist for Romain Del Castillo’s winner. 

Eduardo Camavinga starred in Rennes' shock victory against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday

Eduardo Camavinga starred in Rennes’ shock victory against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday

How did he make it to the first team so soon? 

The starlet moved to Brittany and was playing football for his local side AGL-Drapeau Fougeres by the age of six. It was there that his versatility and coolness in possession were discovered to comfortably be beyond that of his peers.

The club were a partner to the Rennes academy, and Camavinga soon made the switch across at the age of 11 after his considerate talents were spotted. 

He put pen to paper on his first professional contract just a month after his 16th birthday, becoming the youngster player to do so in the club’s history. 

In April 2019, Camavinga made his first team debut after being introduced as a late substitute away at Angers. His first start came shortly after against Monaco, earning him the achievement of being the first player born after January 1 2002 to start a game in the top five European leagues.

His introduction into the first team setup has continued at the start of the new Ligue 1 campaign. 

The 16-year-old earned plaudits after dominating the midfielder and creating the hosts' winner

The 16-year-old earned plaudits after dominating the midfielder and creating the hosts' winner

The 16-year-old earned plaudits after dominating the midfielder and creating the hosts’ winner

Rennes manager Julien Stephan has eased Camavinga into the club's first team set-up

Rennes manager Julien Stephan has eased Camavinga into the club's first team set-up

Rennes manager Julien Stephan has eased Camavinga into the club’s first team set-up

What’s his style of play?

Camavinga’s showing in this season’s league opener against Montpellier was particularly impressive, which further demonstrated his abilities to seize control of a midfield battle. 

In the clash, he won 63% of his duels despite his tender age and misplaced just one of his 41 passes throughout. The statistics are made even more noteworthy considering Rennes had been reduced to ten men, placing further impetus on Camavinga to dominate the middle of the park for his teammates. 

His strengths lie in his energy, poise and ability to read the game – all traits that were spotted during his time in the club’s academy.  These allow him to use a relentless pace to break up passages of play and carry the ball forward, although he is also wary of being dragged out of position. 

But his willingness for a challenge and nonchalant nature in possession can sometimes lead him into tricky situations that result in the opposition stealing the ball back. 

What have people said about him?

After Camavinga’s stellar showing against PSG, Rennes boss Julien Stephan said: ‘He played a match, indeed, like the whole team – very interesting.

‘We are talking to him. He is someone who is also very well-constructed intellectually, who knows how to question himself, who knows how to ask the right questions.

‘Many of the pros have taken him under their wing, because he is very respectful in the dressing room and very attentive to their advice. He blossomed with us this summer.’  

Jo Burel, who was a coach at AGL-Drapeau Fougeres, added: ‘This is the first time I’d seen a player with such qualities.

‘When we wanted to maintain a result, we put him in defence, if we needed a goal, we would put him in attack. He had the ability to do both.’ 

Camavinga started his career at Rennes at the age of 11 before rapidly rising through the ranks

Camavinga started his career at Rennes at the age of 11 before rapidly rising through the ranks

Camavinga started his career at Rennes at the age of 11 before rapidly rising through the ranks

What does the future hold?

The 16-year-old’s meteoric rise to Rennes’ first team hints at an incredibly bright future, which is likely to lie at one of Europe’s elite sides. 

After he set up Rennes’ winner against PSG, reports have emerged that suggest the French champions and Premier League giant Arsenal are both interested in swooping for the youngster. 

Camavinga may even be eyeing up international football. He has begun the process of gaining French nationality, which means that a debut for Les Blues looks inevitable at some stage, albeit initially at youth level.   

However, his immediate future lies at Rennes, who will be hoping to build on a tenth place finish last season. 

The 16-year-old has applied for French nationality and could feature for Les Blues in the future

The 16-year-old has applied for French nationality and could feature for Les Blues in the future

The 16-year-old has applied for French nationality and could feature for Les Blues in the future



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Unai Emery slammed in damning verdict before Arsenal hero then takes swipe at Nicolas Pepe

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Unai Emery has not solved any of the grave problems which existed at Arsenal under Arsene Wenger, according to Paul Merson.

Arsenal made a bright start to the campaign but have not won their last three league games, losing to Liverpool and drawing with Tottenham and Watford.

Last weekend’s capitulation at Vicarage Road particularly brought Emery under fire as Arsenal’s passing out from the back tactics were punished by the Hornets.

And Merson, who played for the club for 12 years, has taken aim at Emery in a column for the Daily Star.

“It’s Unai Wenger at Arsenal at the moment because it’s the same old story,” he said.

“They go 2-0 down against Tottenham and suddenly the shackles come off and they look like the Harlem Globetrotters.

“But then against Watford they go 2-0 up and by the end of the game they’re hanging on for dear life. That can’t happen.

“It’s like the Arsene Wenger days all over again. It’s no different.

“Why is it that just because there’s a new rule where you don’t have to go out of your box at a goal kick, that Arsenal think they have to pass it four yards across their own goal?

“It’s Playstation football. It’s something you’d see on FIFA. Not in the Premier League. Emery will have to change his ways or he’ll soon be out of a job.

“If they don’t beat Aston Villa at the Emirates today the fans might start to turn.”

New signing Nicolas Pepe also felt the wrath of Merson.

The £72million man from Lille has not scored but supplied two assists in six Gunners appearances so far.

“And Nicolas Pepe needs to pull his finger out too,” Merson added.

“He hasn’t looked anything like a £72m footballer so far.”

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Crystal Palace hero Wilfried Zaha opens up on failed Arsenal and Everton summer transfers

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Crystal Palace forward Wilfried Zaha has said that he will always love the club despite wanting to leave in the summer.

Arsenal wanted to sign Zaha but Palace wanted in excess of £70million for him, something which the Gunners could not afford in full.

Once that move fell through, Everton then came in for the Ivorian’s signature.

But Palace wouldn’t listen to their offers either – one of which was said to be £50m plus Cenk Tosun and James McCarthy.

Zaha’s brother Judicael spoke publicly about his sibling’s desire to leave Palace for Arsenal – who he supported as a child.

The former Manchester United winger ended up staying with Palace – the club he professes to love regardless of his summer wishes.

“To be honest what happened in the summer happened,” he told Palace fan site HLTCO.

“Obviously there were things that I was told that did not happen and I was not happy about it.

“I’m still a Palace player and I’m still at Palace and want to do well for the club.

“It’s an honour to play for Palace in the Premier League

“I love Crystal Palace. I feel like the fans and everything in the stadium is different to every club, it is a proper family club. Crystal Palace fans care about your well being.

“I will always love Crystal Palace – whatever happens.

“Even years back when I went to Manchester United I followed everything that happened at Palace. It will not end tomorrow if I ever move.

“I’ve been at Palace since I was eight. Palace is a special place.”

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Kieran Tierney close to Arsenal debut as Unai Emery provides injury update on three stars

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Arsenal manager Unai Emery has offered updates on the fitness of defensive trio Rob Holding, Hector Bellerin and Kieran Tierney.

The Gunners take on Aston Villa at the Emirates tomorrow (4.30pm) looking to respond to their disappointment against Watford a week ago.

Arsenal squandered a two-goal lead to draw 2-2 at Vicarage Road in their second successive draw, both by the same score-line.

A much-changed side recovered to beat Eintracht Frankfurt in their opening Europa League group stage game on Thursday but now getting back on track domestically is their chief ambition.

Their mid-week clean sheet will however have been more than welcome for Emery, whose side have once again struggled defensively this season.

David Luiz, signed from Chelsea for £8million in the summer, gave away a second penalty in just three games at Watford and Arsenal have already leaked eight goals in five league matches.

Such are their problems at the back that Arsenal fans are clamouring for the returns of several stars, with Holding and Bellerin long-term absentees while another summer addition – left-back Tierney – has yet to make his debut due to fitness issues.

But the Spanish boss has revealed the trio are all increasingly closer to 100 per cent, with former Celtic star Tierney closing in on his first appearance after moving south of the border for £25m.

Emery said: ”[Holding] is ready to play. We are playing on Sunday against Aston Villa and on Tuesday against Nottingham Forest [in the Carabao Cup]. These two matches I can decide whether or not to play.

“Hector Bellerin has had a long injury. He needs to go through a process, then we will see how he’s feeling. When he’s confident enough to play, he can start with us.

“With Kieran Tierney, his injury was shorter than Bellerin’s, but the same [process].

“He’ll play [Friday night], we’ll see how he finishes that match and then we have two matches Sunday and Tuesday so, maybe, maybe, he’ll be ready to play some minutes with us.”

Both Bellerin and Tierney lasted an hour of action unscathed as Arsenal’s under-23s drew 2-2 with Wolves last night.

Looking ahead to their return to Premier League action tomorrow, Arsenal have lost just one of their last 20 home games in the division, winning 20.

The Londoners are on a six-match winning streak against Villa, keeping a clean sheet in their past five meetings.

Villa, meanwhile, have lost their last nine away games in the top flight and are one game away from matching their club record of 10 straight defeats on the road set back in 1925.

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