Le50 2017 – Ludovic Blas
A player of great potential but perhaps yet to fully hit that mark on a regular basis would be a pretty fair one-line summary of Guingamp wide man Ludovic Blas. The player came into the last campaign with expectations set quite high after shining in the victorious French under-19 side at 2016’s European Championships. A season later and Blas will feel that whilst progress has been made, more could have been done with the opportunities given.
Blas grew up in the suburbs of Paris, playing for a couple of local teams before heading west and joining Guingamp in 2013. He blossomed in the youth teams and eventually made his first team debut towards the end of the 2015/16 season. As the season drew to a close, Blas found himself in the first team squad on a regular basis.
From there Blas went into the under-19 European Championships in Germany full of confidence as one of only a handful of players with something close to top-flight experience. Alongside Jean-Kevin Augustin and Kylian Mbappe, Blas formed a lethal attacking trio with the three of them scoring 13 of France’s 15 goals throughout the tournament. Although Blas only contributed two of those 13, he made his efforts count with his goals coming in the semi-final and final.
It was during those Championships that Blas truly demonstrated his huge potential. Playing wide on the right, he tormented almost every side he came up against with his pace and trickery. Blas is happy to run at players due to being so comfortable on the ball and, being left footed, he often finds most success when cutting in from that right flank. Always looking to get beyond his man, which is achieved thanks to his raw pace and bag of tricks, Blas has the ability to find that killer pass or the confidence to take a shot on goal.
In addition to playing out on the right wing, Blas has also been deployed on the more obvious left flank. Going forward, with Blas also comfortable on his supposed weaker right foot, his ability to play in a more central role might see him at his best.
During the 2016/17 season, Blas played a more prominent role for Guingamp under new coach Antoine Kombouare. Despite this, his return for the season and performances in general bordered on the slightly underwhelming, given the promise that he had shown the previous summer. No assists and only two goals tells most of the story: for a player so keen to get forward, those numbers should surely have been higher. A reason for this is his lack of consistency – perhaps his performances during the summer had set expectations at an unreasonable level. Blas does not lack in confidence and it could be argued that it is this characteristic that needs to be slightly curbed so that he doesn’t get too much of an inflated ego – the downfall of many youngsters.
If he can continue to play under Kombouare then he will benefit from a coach who will be able to manage Blas’ attitude and get him going in the right direction again. Looking forward, Blas will need to regain focus on what he does best whilst also being open-minded enough to take on board criticism and respond accordingly. Lyon, Liverpool and Inter Milan had been watching Blas during the European Championships and during the early stages of the season, leading to Blas being offered an improved contract by Guingamp. Whilst he may not be at that same level now, he has the talent and time on his side to get back to that position and beyond.