Le50 2017 – Martin Terrier

Terrier LOSC

Nearly every six-year-old kid, when they pull on their boots and begin kicking a ball, dreams of making it all the way to the very top. For Lille’s Martin Terrier, that became a reality while playing for SC Bailleul.

Recruiters from LOSC were standing on the touchline when the little midfielder apparently went on a mazy run. There and then the Ligue 1 side knew they had to sign him up. Thirteen years later, after being called up to the first-team, he made his professional debut in a six-minute cameo against Bastia.

Fans of les Dogues have still to figure out exactly where Terrier’s best position lies in the team, but they will no doubt be impressed with the glimpses that he has given them.

The 20-year-old’s rise has been rapid, from his first goal for the club in the Coupe de France victory over AS Excelsior, to his first Ligue 1 strike against Montpellier. It was when he saw his name mentioned with a possibility of joining the France Under-20 squad at this summer’s World Cup that he began to believe in himself more.

“In January, I saw my name appear in an article listing the players who had a chance to be selected for the World Cup; something clicked, it gave me confidence.”

Terrier has only started one Ligue 1 game for Lille, but has 10 substitute appearances – enough for the 20-year-old to win a place in Ludovic Batelli’s squad. “My presence in the group today is the reward for all the work I’ve put in.”

This season alone the French attacker has played on the left, the right and through the middle. Showing an ability to play outside the box, linking the attack and slipping passes into his team-mates, he has also displayed an ability to get in behind, play off the shoulder of the last defender and race through on goal.

As the likes of Ricardo Kishna, Anwar El-Ghazi and Naim Sliti have struggled to command a regular spot, Terrier has done all he can to impress the new regime in charge of LOSC, and perhaps give new coach Marcelo Bielsa some food for thought.

Back in 2015, when he began training with the first team, the teenager admitted he had to work on the defensive side of his game, but he’s already shown heart and hard work to defend from the front.

Taking on Lyon at the Parc OL, Lille were 2-1 up and running down the clock in the fifth minute of injury time. Facing another OL attack it was Terrier who chased the ball down and put in a superb sliding tackle to thwart the threat.

It was that same desire and determination that helped him score his first league goal.

Picking the ball up in midfield, he picked a pass inside and then burst forward looking for the return ball. Laurent Pionnier raced out to try to win the ball, but the attacker kept going and showed great bravery to put his body on the line and get there before the goalkeeper, getting enough on the ball for it to reach the back of the net.

There are still parts of his game that he can look to improve: the France Under-20 game against New Zealand showed that his finishing could be more clinical. That was also evident when he started the 1-1 draw with Saint-Etienne, but with neat footwork and great movement, the young forward can be commended for getting in the right positions.

Lille will be linked with a whole host of new names this summer as Bielsa and Luis Campos look to build a squad capable of challenging the top teams in Ligue 1, but they would be smart to make sure Terrier is not forgotten in the shake-up.

Andrew Gibney

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