Friday, January 21, 2022
HomeLifestyleHugo Ekitike: Europe's high teenage goalscorer out to emulate Mbappe

Hugo Ekitike: Europe’s high teenage goalscorer out to emulate Mbappe

- Advertisement -

Should you’re planning a football-based quiz to move the time with household and buddies across the New Yr interval, then one query certain to stump any supporters who don’t comply with Ligue 1 intently is: ‘Who’s the highest scoring teenager in Europe’s ‘Large 5′ leagues by way of the primary half of the 2021-22 season?’

The reply? Reims striker Hugo Ekitike.

Nineteen-year-old Ekitike might not but be a family identify exterior of his native France, however the type he has proven within the opening months of the marketing campaign means that he quickly can be.

Ekitike’s breakthrough marks the most recent step on a journey that started when he was round 10 years outdated and taking part in for native beginner facet Cormontreuil on the outskirts of Reims.

One summer time, the teenager was invited to vacation with the household of his soccer coach Jean-Philippe, AKA ‘Nano’, at their cellular house within the area of Allier.

“Once we arrived, we opened the cabinets and located a Stade de Reims jacket,” remembers Nano to GOAL. “The children tried it on; it was too massive for my son, nevertheless it match Hugo completely, so he saved it.

“Shortly after the vacations, he signed a non-solicitation settlement to hitch the Reims academy.”

Nano, who coached Ekitike as an Below-7s participant all the way in which as much as U12s, had been telling his younger cost that he can be signed by the previous European Cup finalists for fairly a while, however the modest little one refused to pay attention, as a substitute simply specializing in changing into one of the best participant he may very well be.

“At Cormontreuil, he scored lots of objectives with out ever getting carried away,” Nano explains. “For instance, he would by no means be capable to say what number of objectives he had scored in a match.

“He was a winner who did not showcase, all the time listening to enhance himself however to not be the primary. In matches, if he may make a move regardless of being in entrance of the objective, he would not hesitate, as a result of he knew that it was probably the most clever selection.”

Take a look at soccer’s finest wonderkids with NXGN:

On Reims’ eventual curiosity, Nano provides: “They should have been fed up with Hugo scoring objectives each time their groups got here to play towards us!”

Eight years on from becoming a member of the membership, Ekitike is now a key member of the Reims assault, along with his eight objectives in 17 Ligue 1 video games together with strikes towards Marseille and Lyon. Seven of these efforts, in the meantime, have are available in his final 10 appearances, whereas he has additionally offered three assists for team-mates.

He has undoubtedly been one of many breakout stars in France’s high flight to this point this season, along with his emergence coming only a matter of months since he took the courageous transfer to go on mortgage to Denmark seeking first-team soccer.

Ekitike made his Reims debut in October 2020, however after showing in only one additional recreation throughout the first half of the season, he accepted the supply to hitch Vejle, the place he would get the prospect to pit himself towards skilled defenders who’ve performed European soccer, moderately than these he was developing towards within the French fourth tier for Reims’ reserve facet.

The spell in Scandinavia went properly for Ekitike, who scored three objectives and offered two assists in his 11 video games (seven of which had been begins), although it was a transfer that just about didn’t occur when he, a membership consultant and his agent had been turned away at Copenhagen airport in January.

On the time, Denmark was in lockdown and never permitting travellers from overseas into the nation, with Ekitike solely allowed to enter after a high-ranking military officer who occurred to assist Vejle intervened, albeit underneath the proviso that his agent departed after 48 hours, leaving Ekitike alone in a brand new nation.

Nonetheless, he was not fazed.

“When he realised that, he checked out his agent and mentioned, ‘don’t fret, I will handle’,” a supply near Ekitike tells GOAL. “He was 18 and confirmed nice serenity, though he was arriving in a rustic with well being restrictions, the chilly and the language barrier.”

Described as being down-to-earth however single-minded by these near him, Ekitike lives a life-style that belies his rising profile on this planet of soccer.

“At Christmas, you aren’t going to see him go to Dubai,” one in every of Ekitike’s shut buddies tells GOAL. “He’ll keep along with his household, spend time along with his grandparents and take time for himself to assume, relaxation and go to the flicks.

“He additionally watches what’s fashionable on TV. In latest weeks, the stylish sequence is Squid Recreation. He has simply began Recreation of Thrones after ending Breaking Dangerous too.”

From a footballing perspective, in the meantime, Ekitike doesn’t conceal his ambition, stating that he’s out to copy Kylian Mbappe as a lot as potential.

“That is what it means to be a top-level participant and that is what I aspire to change into,” he instructed Foot Mercato when discussing the Paris Saint-Germain star. “Over the previous few years, he’s the participant I watch probably the most, who conjures up me, and never essentially solely on the pitch.”

As a comparability, Mbappe scored 15 objectives in his first full Ligue 1 season at Monaco in 2016-17, though he was a 12 months youthful than Ekitike is now. That mentioned, there are some similarities of their video games, notably relating to Ekitike’s want to chop inside from the left and curl pictures previous despairing goalkeepers along with his proper foot.

Tall and slight at 6’2″ (189cm), the France U20 worldwide possesses a clean working model, and although not electrifyingly pacey, he makes up for it with sensible motion, notably contained in the penalty space.

“He has the mentality of Kobe Bryant in a 19-year-old’s physique,” one in every of Ekitike’s buddies says. “Should you inform him he is solely bought 10 minutes left in a recreation, he is not going to cover, however take it as a problem.”

In addition to observing others, Ekitike can be eager to appraise his personal shows, along with his efficiency when coming off the bench towards PSG again in August one he was notably sad with, a lot so he went house that night to evaluation his personal efficiency, with one incident the place he misplaced the ball to Marquinhos making him really feel notably “silly”, in accordance with a supply.

Ekitike can be out to place that proper when Reims tackle the Ligue 1 leaders once more on January 23, and he’ll achieve this as a participant who has change into one in every of Europe’s hottest teenage strikers within the meantime.

Marquinhos, Mbappe and co. have been warned – in the event that they have no idea who Hugo Ekitike is already, they possible quickly will do.

For extra on the world’s finest younger ballers, comply with NXGN on Instagram and TikTok.

- Advertisement -


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -

Most Popular