They learned of their call up for the friendly against Antwerp from Laurent Tinca, the man in charge of day-to-day life at La Diagonale. The news left the pair “shocked”. Once the pride of being called up for the first time with the pros had been digested, however, Félix Lemarechal (17) and Maghnes Akliouche (19) hurried to pack their bags for Belgium.
Face au Royal Antwerp, nos deux jeunes milieux de terrain 🔴⚪️ formés à l’Academy ont disputé leurs premières minutes chez les professionnels 👇 #RiseRiskRepeat
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) July 19, 2021
Following the example of their Academy friends
And so to Austria two days later, where Niko Kovac included them in training. Like Eliot Matazo, Chrislain Matsima and Enzo Millot a year ago, the two regulars of the National 2 side trained at the Academy, rose to the highest level and, above all, continue to learn. “Playing with players like Cesc Fàbregas, who is a world champion, is such great luck for us”, beamed Félix.
The training camp: experience and opportunity
With a somewhat reserved manner, just like his roommate in Stegersbach, the young creative midfielder Maghnes is making the most of the moment. “We’re here to show what we can do,” the left-footed player, who has not escaped some teasing from Benoît Badiashile in training, confirmed. The two teammates are here to improve and take full advantage of any playing time that comes their way.
As we wait to see if they’ll make an appearance on the pitch against Wolfsburg this Saturday (kick-off 17:00 CET), here’s all you need to know about the pair.
Félix Lemarechal (17), box-to-box midfielder / playmaker
What his former U19 coach, Frédéric Barilaro, says about him
Félix is a box-to-box midfielder with a big workrate who is technically very comfortable, whether it is with his right foot or his left foot, and in terms of coming short or going deep. He still needs to increase his in-game discipline, drift less and improve his defensive tasks.
How he found out about his call up
I was in my room. Nazim (Babaï) and Maghnes came to see me and Laurent Tinca, our manager, called us over the loudspeaker to tell us that we were leaving with the team for the friendly match. We were surprised, shocked even, we didn’t expect it.
Scoring direct from a corner with the U19s last year
(Laughs) Actually, that was a game where we were already leading 5-1. There is a corner and at that point I have Mala (Malamine Efekele) and Jordan (Semedo), my teammates, next to me. I told them, “Look, I’m going to have a go.” I wanted to tell them, because if I had scored and hadn’t told anyone, they would have told me it was lucky. This was to make sure we all knew it was on purpose. (smiles) Coach Bari said to me after the goal: ‘Unless the score is 5-1, you won’t be trying that again!’
🔝 Magnifique corner rentrant de Felix Lemarechal lors de la victoire de nos #U19 ce week-end 💥
𝙌𝙪𝙚𝙡 𝙘𝙪𝙡𝙤𝙩 𝙚𝙩 𝙦𝙪𝙚𝙡 𝙗𝙪𝙩 🤩
— AS Monaco 🇲🇨 (@AS_Monaco) October 19, 2020
The player who inspires him at AS Monaco
It really depends on the position. Offensively, I would say Aleksandr Golovin. Then in the middle, honestly, I take inspiration from all of them: Cesc, Youssouf, Aurélien. These are the three who played the most last year, we can say. I try to watch them to see how they play, then we can learn from everyone, and not just from those who play in our position.
His favourite skill
(In French) It’s called the rainbow ! When you take the ball between your legs, flick it up and lift it over your opponent. The rainbow or the sombrero, however you wish to call it.
What’s impressed him most about Niko Kovac’s training sessions
The warm-ups! They’re long and you have plenty of time to prepare yourself. There are races and support work. That’s good as it gets us warm and ready for when things start.
Maghnes Akliouche (19), attacking midfielder
What Manu Dos Santos, his U17 coach, says about him
Maghnes is a late-developer who is very comfortable technically with the ball. He has a very good left foot and really good in-game vision. He lacked a bit of explosiveness and strength at the start so needed some time to adapt. He’s a pretty reserved kid off the pitch but shows a lot of character once he’s on it.
What Fred Barialaro says about Maghnes
He’s very talented, even though he’s a late-maturing player; it took him a little while to impose himself. He has a very good left foot, is very creative and constantly tries to play it forward. He needs to put on a few pounds, which would be great for him. He needs to assert himself a little more in character as well.
The player who most inspires him in the group
Aleksandr Golovin is one who plays in my position I’d especially look to. He has a lot of qualities, especially with his passing, so that’s why I watch him a lot. I learn from him, observe, and try to replicate what he does well.
On his opportunity to join the pros on this training camp
It’s a pleasure and motivating at the same time because we convince ourselves that this is possible. After that, you have to work hard and prove that you can contribute something to the group.
On the ratings from Benoît Badiashile
We laugh a lot together, and he actually likes to give me rankings at the end of training. It’s done in good humour but so that I can progress too. He is an example to follow.
His favourite skill
I would love to score with a scissor kick during practice, that would be cool. (smile) Are you waiting for a shooting session to give it a go ? Yes, I’d like to.