Football IQ, play volume, shyness, says Lepenant from one of his former coaches

Olympique Lyonnais announced the hiring of Johann Lepenant from Caen on Wednesday. The 19-year-old midfielder has great potential and will launch an attack in Ligue 1 after shining in Ligue 2 where he has notably worked with Patrice Sauvaget. The Caen assistant coach presents for RMC Sport the profile of the new talent recovered by the Gones, both his qualities and his areas of progress.

History will remember that Olympique Lyonnais’ first recruit after John Textor’s arrival is called Johann Lepenant. Jean-Michel Aulas had already leaked the news but Lyon then waited a few days before finalizing the transfer of the Caen midfielder for a € 4.25 million check.

Ligue 2 revelation with Stade Malherbe de Caen, Johann Lepenant then left his training club where Stéphane Moulin’s staff pampered him for two seasons and didn’t want to block him when the Gones came to pick him up during the transfer window .

A great receiver who “loves to defend”

After gradually gaining playing time during the 2020-2021 season, Johann Lepenant settled among the undisputed Caen holders during the 2021-2022 season in Ligue 2. Logico, given his ability to multiply his efforts. Barely 20 years old – he will celebrate them at the end of the year – the central midfielder has marked the spirits and impressed those who have supported him every day in Normandy. Among them, Patrice Sauvaget is full of praise for the young player.

“He has a very, very high volume of play. He is someone who loves to recover balls that he loves to defend, explains the assistant coach Moulin on the staff of Caen with RMC Sport. And he is one who has good general technique with above average even the intelligence of the game “.

Johann Lepenant (right) during Caen-Grenoble, 30 October 2021
Johann Lepenant (right) during Caen-Grenoble, 30 October 2021 © Icon Sport

Like a former illustrious Caennais, a certain N’Golo Kanté of whom he is a fan, Johann Lepenant does not have incredible athletic skills. His size (1m76), in particular, does not allow it to take on the role of control tower. Be that as it may, the collector compensates with his other qualities and particularly with his reading of the game and his commitment.

“He’s someone who wins a lot of balls. Not for his physique because he doesn’t have a huge physique, even if he’s not the type to trample. He shows that” He’s there and he doesn’t hold back, says his now former coach in Caen. He will be more in reading the game, in the intelligence to cut trajectories and find other subterfuges than physical strength “.

A boy “shy”, “canceled” and not yet leader of the locker room

After two great years in Ligue 2 in his Caen cocoon, Johann Lepenant has decided to take a new step in his career. Landing in Lyon, and despite the absence of European competition, the environment will continue its development there. According to his former educator, the international U20 tricolor (nine selections) will have to do a little violence to integrate due to his great shyness. Both on the pitch he doesn’t let himself be done and is already “mentally hard”, as much as he remains calm in the locker room.

“He’s a very discreet person, very shy at first. Precisely, he needs to crack the shell a little to express himself. He’s someone you won’t listen to. This is a great axis of progress at home, it needs to assert itself a little more. as a leader, warns Patrice Sauvaget. […] He has to affirm his personality even more. In group life you will not feel it, it is canceled “.

A midfielder not effective enough in front of goal

Alexandre Lacazette’s return to Lyon is a good offensive reinforcement for Peter Bosz. The arrival of Ludovic Giuly on the staff of the Rhone, to take care of the forwards, will also give a nice boost to the scorers. And that’s good because Johann Lepenant hasn’t managed to be killer enough against the opponent’s goal yet. Despite 34 appearances in Ligue 2 last season, the midfielder hasn’t scored once and has only provided one assist to a team-mate. The neo-Gone has not yet unlocked his counter-goal with the professionals. His defensive role doesn’t help but this is the big black spot of his game, along with his main axis of progression

“[Il peut progresser] In its efficiency in front of goal. It was not successful at all this year. I think he has a lot of room for improvement in relation to this, analyzes Stéphane Moulin’s deputy at SMC. But he has already progressed in the game orientation, he has progressed in the long game, he has progressed in many situations so this efficiency in front of goal is an axis that he will learn.

Lepenant still has “time for his progress”

A great potential, but not yet fully concluded, here’s how to sum up Johann Lepenant’s career so far. At the same time, it is difficult to expect from a player of only 19 that he already has all the qualities of a champion in the league. When he discovers the elite with OL, it’s hard to say whether the midfielder will one day play for the Blues, but he’ll have some time to make his mark in France.

“Lyonnais signed him for five years and not five months”, finally insists Patrice Sauvaget. This means that it may take him some time for him to join the OL club. […] He signed for five years. I think the club and the managers count in time for his progress. “

In Lyon, where Thiago Mendes has extended his contract but could be a solution in the center of Peter Bosz’s eleven defense, Johann Lepenant seems to have a good shot in midfield in competition or associated with Maxence Caqueret. It’s up to him to show that he can reach a new level with OL. Having seduced Ligue 2, we now have to do the same with Ligue 1.

Jean-Guy Lebreton Journalist of RMC Sport

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