Le50 2016: Léo Dubois – FC Nantes


When Nantes announced over the summer that they had handed Leo Dubois a new contract it seemed to suggest that the youngster would be part of Michel Der Zakarian’s plans for the season. Indeed, that proved to be the case with the youngster starting the first eight league games of the campaign.

Der Zakarian has never been afraid to throw young players in, although with Ligue 1 increasingly a selling league most managers have little option but to turn to their academy players. His faith in Dubois has been tested at times, with the youngster sometimes making some frustrating errors, but when he’s on form it’s clear to see that he has a real future in the team.

Able to play either at left-back or right-back, Dubois has had to show his versatility this season, which has both hindered and helped him when it comes to nailing down a starting spot. Unusual in this world of modern full-backs, there is a good case to be made that Dubois is actually better at defending than he is going forward, but he’s evidently working on his attacking as well.

Recently Dubois spoke of how Der Zakarian has asked him to try to be more adventurous going forward so that he can add more to the Nantes attack. He was speaking after the defeat to Lyon and it was promising to hear that he wasn’t discouraged by the fact that he didn’t enjoy as much success as he would have liked.

“Was my risk-taking a request from Michel Der Zakarian? Yes. This is the key word at this time. We must let go of the restraints and try to create success. I tried Saturday and it did not work but I hope it works next time.”

There were some recent calls for Dubois to be called up to the international squad to replace Lucas Digne but this was mostly Nantes fans being a bit cheeky. However, in the future France are going to have to look at their options at right back. Steven Moreira, Sebastien Corchia and even Dubois’ team-mate Youssouf Sabaly, who can also play on both sides, will be under consideration.

Sabaly may well return to PSG at the end of the season, although another loan is more likely if Serge Aurier remains with the champions, and this should give Dubois the opportunity he needs. Hopefully he continues to be the first choice next season and play a full 30-35 game season. If Nantes can manage to qualify for the Europa League next season that will give Dubois more exposure and eventually Nantes will have a number of teams asking about the promising full-back.

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