Le50 2016: Adrien Hunou – Clermont Foot/Stade Rennais
Another player to emerge from the renowned Rennes academy, Adrien Hunou has really blossomed whilst on loan with high-flying Ligue 2 side Clermont Foot. Under coach Corinne Diacre, Hunou has progressed leaps and bounds from the slight figure who only got the occasional game at Rennes.
In his second spell on loan with Clermont, after a successful time in early 2015 which was curtailed by injury, Hunou has become one of the key players for the Auvergne side. Deployed best as a central attacking midfielder, Hunou can also play out wide if required but, with superb vision and being so comfortable on the ball, the middle of the pitch is where one really gets the best from him. He can play a little deeper if required and isn’t afraid to drop back to help out when needed or if he wants to collect the ball and launch an attack. With occasional stints at full back for Rennes in his academy days he can prove useful in tracking runs from opposition attackers but it is really going forward where he shines.
Hunou’s distribution gives him the ability to find players all over the pitch and he has a right-foot that many would be envious of. He is deceptively quick and is just as happy to run at players as he is floating passes around the pitch. Plus, his excellent engine allows him to keep making runs late in the game which causes defenders problems.
It is whilst on loan at Clermont that he has developed an effective talent for ghosting into the opposition box with late runs and a number of his goals this season have been scored in this manner.
Hunou is now benefiting from getting regular playing time and he has added a layer of strength to his game that means he is muscled off the ball far less. He could still gain from becoming stronger as this will then assist him in the tackle, one of his few weaker areas, but for now his progress has been very encouraging and he has become a shining example of the benefits of going out on loan, with Hunou himself admitting “I’m very glad I could play here for Clermont. This season in Ligue 2 strengthens me”.
One other area he should look to focus on is consistency. At 22 he should now be looking to dominate games on a regular basis. Whilst this has been the case for the most part, there are still times when he can go missing. He has all the talent needed to impose himself in a match and once this can be unlocked for every game he plays then one could be looking at a very special player.
He has proven to be a key player for the French youth sides and was an integral part of the Toulon Tournament side of 2014 where he captained France to a runners-up place before being part of the side that won the tournament a year later.
As far as Hunou’s future goes, he very much sees it with Rennes as, it seems, does his parent club. Hunou recently said “I know that they (Rennes) send someone to monitor me and report back. I have had messages from the President congratulating me for my performances. I’ll be ready for Ligue 1 this summer. I will do everything I can to play for Rennes. A new coach has arrived and I think I have a card to play”. He’s ready for Ligue 1 and it will be exciting to see if Ligue 1 is ready for Hunou.