#2 – Key Players & Bright Prospects – The Kids from Montbéliard

Eyebrows have been raised in the world of football at the appointment of the 28-year old, who has recently spent time away from club football, and he is sure to face plenty of questions when he faces the media for the first time at Stade Auguste Bonal.

– The French Football Express

My first act as the FCSM gaffer is to cancel the press conference. So, I don’t care, and I’m not going to answer any questions. In your face! Great start to my first day at the club, and it would only get better once I started to scroll down the squad. 

Why? Because I saw some familiar names immediately. In my first post, I mentioned a youth-only savegame with Les Lionceaux in FM18, which I couldn’t finish due to the release of FM19. I have some unfinished business with Sochaux

Seeing the names of players I developed in that save brings the nostalgia flooding back immediately. It really helped to get into the save straight away! Lovely, as that was something I was struggling with before I started this. Let’s have a look at some of the players at Sochaux.

FC Sochaux – Key Players in FM20

The first name I instantly recognised was Maxence Prévot. The 22-year old goalie is currently the most influential member of the team. That is mostly due to how long he’s been at Sochaux. Prévot is an academy product, and with the club since 2004. He’s a well-rounded goalkeeper for Ligue 2 level, and could still develop into a pretty good Ligue 1 player.

Football Manager suggests he’s a sweeper keeper, but I think he’s more like a shot-stopper. His first touch, passing, throwing, anticipation and vision aren’t high enough to be a reliable sweeper. Prévot will be our main goalkeeper. I want to develop him into a reliable shot-stopper for Ligue 1 level. His first training regimes will, therefore, focus on developing his positioning, decisions and anticipation.

22-year-old left-back Jason Pendant was the second name I remembered, but for wholly different reasons. He was sitting in the B-team back in FM18, and I tried to develop him into a Ligue 1 player, but he never made it into the first team back then. Here’s my chance at redemption!

We have little time to develop him into something special because of his age. He’s a good Ligue 2 player already and could develop into a solid Ligue 1 wing-back. He has no real weak spots so I can concentrate on developing the stronger sides of his game. We might, however, try to improve his crossing to support our attacks some more.

Another Maxence in our team, and again some nostalgic memories starting to emerge. Maxence Lacroix was sitting in the U19-team back in FM18, being a bright prospect. After a season or two, I decided to promote him to the first team, and never looked back. He developed into our main centre-back and even made it to the French national team.

He’s in the first-team this year, but still a prospect. He has the template of a ball-playing defender, but I want him to improve the defensive side of his game first. I believe he could become a really important player for us again. I’m taking the plunge and will provide him with a lot of playtime in our first season. That’s also the reason for him being under ‘Key Players’ and not under the talents section.

Cameroonian 28-year-old centre-back Teikeu is arguably the best player at the club, ability-wise. Back in FM18, he was one of the best too, but I moved him on pretty quickly. Moltenis and Lacroix were coming through the academy, and I decided to favour their development over playing Teikeu.

He looks decent at first sight, but I’m a bit worried about his acceleration. His positioning isn’t making up for it, and he has problems with concentration. However, he’s very strong in the air and doesn’t avoid the challenge. We have to pair him with the right partner or utilise the right tactical instructions to overcome his flaws.

Next in line is experienced centre-back Christophe Diedhiou. The 31-year-old Senegalese is a pretty good defender for our level. However, just like Teikeu, he needs the right type of partner next to him. He lacks positioning, decisions and composure. Again, he’s reasonably strong in the air and, opposed to Teikeu, has a bit of pace.

I’m reluctant to play Teikeu and Diedhiou together as they lack in the same areas. But, with only Lacroix as a good enough back-up, we might need to. It’s a serious problem though, so we need to keep this in mind when we’re going to layout our tactical plans.

29-year-old Pape Paye. The right wingback is a hardworking player who’s mainly good at supporting the attacking play. His defensive attributes aren’t exactly pleasing. Marking, tackling, anticipation, decisions and positioning are all below twelve, which is worrisome because our central defenders aren’t quite good enough to make up for it.

He is good enough for Ligue 2 but this could become a real problem when we gain promotion to Ligue 1. I need to address this immediately by looking at our defensive prospects and develop them in the right areas. A challenge awaits, and I like it!

Last but not least, Sofiane Daham is another player which I developed in FM18. The now 23-year-old Algerian is a well-rounded midfielder who still has room to grow. He’s a versatile player and could play different roles in midfield. It’s the exact reason why I don’t know which way to go with him. He is what I like to call a ‘defensive passer’.

I really need to come up with something because he’s already 23-years old. That means he hasn’t much time to develop a lot and reach his full potential. I might try to develop him into a solid deep-lying playmaker although, he lacks the decisions and vision to execute the role well.

FC Sochaux – Bright Prospects in FM20

I’ll be honest. I don’t know where to start. The amount of prospects at Sochaux is overwhelming. I’ve got tons to show you, but that would make this post way too long! I’m still figuring out in what style I want to update this series as I want to write mainly about development. That’s the reason why I’m showing these players to you. It’s important to remember their starting point for development analysis in the future. But I get it when you think this post is getting a bit monotonous.

However, this is my second post, and I still need to learn a lot about blogging. I’m still searching for my blogging style. I’m trying to do something new, and therefore, it’s hard to do it right at first attempt. So, I’d love to receive some feedback on this. Don’t hesitate to hit me up on Twitter, or use the comments section below.

So, what I did here is this; I left out a couple of players, and will only show the youngsters whom I think are close to first-team level. What I’ll do next is; pick two or three out of these prospects and make them my ‘case studies’. In the next post, I’ll show you what I do with them and why I do that. We’ll follow these two or three players over the next few seasons and track their progress. I’ll evaluate their training results after a season or three and will then pick some others to follow. Let’s take a look at what talents we have here.

Salem M’bakata can expect some serious playing time in our first season. The 21-year-old was sitting in the second team when I arrived at Sochaux. God knows why. I promoted him to the first team immediately. He’s not far behind first choice Paye for the right wingback position and still has bags of potential to fulfil. He could become a lot better than Paye and should develop into a solid Ligue 1 wingback. He needs playing time, a lot of it!

There isn’t a lot of shaping to do as he’s already 21-years old and pretty well-rounded. There are no real weaknesses here, so I’m going to focus on his strengths. I want to improve his physicals in training as I believe that mentals will grow gradually due to playing matches. After that, I want to focus on improving his marking and tackling.

Seeing this guy gives me nostalgic feelings once again. Bryan Lasme developed into a great striker back in FM18 for me. It looks like they’ve turned down his potential a notch, or my assistant is wrong about his potential. Lasme needs minutes at the highest possible level as well. I need to figure out if I can provide them myself, or if he should move out on loan to another team in the league.

Lasme is tall, strong, but has some pace as well. He could become a dangerous striker if nurtured correctly. His off the ball movement needs attention, and I’d love him to be more composed. He needs specialized training which suggests I’m better off keeping him around for at least the season.

Next in line is my favourite FCSM player from FM18, and I can only hope he will be as good as back then. Melvin Sitti developed into the best mezzala in France under my wings, before moving to Manchester City for a record fee of €28mln. At the start, he’s 19-years old. We should have around five seasons to fulfil his potential which is great as he’s already knocking on the door of the first XI. Sitti definitely will be one of my first case studies.

There’s no need to address his strengths and weaknesses any further as I will be talking about him a lot!

Zohoré is a promising central defender. He’s only 18-years old and already has double digits in various essential attributes. He’s strong, knows how to jump and is very brave. He’s willing to work hard and knows how to head a ball.

He does need to work on his mentals and as mentioned earlier on, I like speedy defenders. Or at least, not so slow. I do believe he can become a good defender for Ligue 1 teams.

Skelly Alvero is only 17-years old and already looks half decent. The very tall striker could become something special. Yes, he needs a lot of work but has the required potential. He’s reasonably strong, brave, and aggressive. He needs to work hard on his acceleration and pace as I believe a pacy target man can be deadly!

I like his attribute spread, and if I nurture him correctly, he could become Ligue 1’s top scorer.

Another 17-year-old. Coli Saco is again a fairly aggressive player who likes to work hard. He’s a prospect after my heart. He’s a well-rounded player. Coli has it all. Dribbling, first touch, heading, marking, passing, tackling, technique and might become the perfect box-to-box midfielder.

With a height of 195cm and a weight of 82kg, he’s a player you don’t want to mess with. His physical presence alone could be enough to create space for a creative partner in midfield, by scaring our opponents.

Sidy Diagne is another player that looks promising. It seems like FCSM has something with aggressive, hard-working players. Aggression, bravery, teamwork and work rate are all above eleven at the age of 17! He needs to work on his mentals, but they’ll grow over time as well. I believe he can become a very solid defender.

Central midfielder Ndiaye is one of the prospects whom I expect to develop into something special. He’s a versatile player who could play as a right-winger as well. Only being 17 years of age gives him a lot of time to progress. He has some work to do but has solid mentals for his age.

He needs to improve his physical attributes if he wants to be a part of the first-team and join the big boys. Technically, I don’t know what to expect. He can cross a ball, knows how to dribble, has a solid pass, good technique, but can tackle and man-mark as well. I’m thinking Mezalla right now, but he might surprise us.

I’m thinking about picking Faraj as one of my case studies in this series. He doesn’t seem to be a stand-out player at first sight, and that’s the exact reason I want to follow him. The 17-year-old has a nearly perfect attribute-spread if you ask me.

I do believe he could become good enough to play for a top club in Europe. He has a lot of work to do, especially in the mental department, but he has all the right attributes in the right places!

Malcom Nebodon, I like his name, looks promising as well. Versatile in roles and positions. Double digits everywhere, and only 16-years of age. He could become a top player in every role, as long as he’s in the centre of the pitch.

The longer I keep looking at him, the less I know what I want to do with his training. Ball winning midfielder? Box-to-box player? Mezzala maybe? Ball-playing defender? We can go in any direction with this guy. He seems to have the potential as well!

Jessim Pellissard is a striker, and I believe the 16-year-old could become a deadly one. Again, we have a player with a lovely attribute spread. He does need to improve his stamina from the go if he wants to play for the first-team at a young age. His balance is a point of attention too.

His technical ability is already good enough to play for us. Dribbling, finishing, first touch and technique are all at 12 already! There are no real weaknesses in his mental attributes although, he needs to become more mature overall.

I told you I didn’t know where to start with all these prospects at Sochaux. There’s no end to it, but I promise this guy will be the last one, for today.

15-year old Nolan Galves is a right wing-back. Again, we see an aggressive and hard-working player with a nice attribute spread. I think his mentals are amazing for his age, and his technicals are all in the right areas.

I think I’ll start with trying to improve his physicals, which is a point of attention.

I’ll leave it there. I had to pick the players above, and left other promising ones out otherwise this post would’ve become massive! The ones I’ve shown are the youngsters who are the closest to the first team. Sochaux’s academy is astonishing, and I’m looking forward to utilising it.

I hope the annual youth intakes will give me the same amount of bright prospects as what is present now. However, I know very well that they can be frustrating as well. Let us hope for the best.

In my next post, we will take a closer look at some of the prospects. I’ll write about how I set up their training and what I expect from them and their future progress.

Hope to see you next time, bye!

Other posts in The Kids from Montbéliard

#1 – The Kids from Montbéliard (Introduction)
#3 – Case Studies – The Kids from Montbéliard

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