One of the most prestigious youth tournaments in world football kicks off this Sunday.
The Tournoi Maurice Revello (formerly known as the Toulon tournament) has developed a reputation for being an event that showcases some of the best young talents in the world. Previous alumni include: Jack Grealish, Alisson, Fikayo Tomori, James Rodríguez, Bruno Fernandes, João Cancelo… the list could go on. With such a rich history, we’re proud to have been selected as the Official Data Provider for the 2022 tournament. There’ll be StatsBomb data available for every match played in this edition, as well as the Sud Ladies cup taking place in the same month. With the tournament around the corner, we've selected five players to look out for at the 2022 Tournoi.
Player 1: Hugo Ekitike, France
Of all the tournament squads, it’s fair to say the French selection comfortably has the most pedigree, with many of their players already featuring regularly in Ligue 1 and Ligue 2.
One who has attracted much attention this season has been Hugo Ekitike.
Ekitike’s breakout season with Stade de Reims in Ligue 1 has seen him linked with several big clubs on the continent, with fees as high as £33million mentioned for a 19 year old with only 1458 Ligue 1 minutes to his name.
Ekitike’s admirers have been drawn in by his clever and intuitive movement in the final third. He’s consistently demonstrated an instinct for playing on the shoulder of the defender and creating separation from his marker in the box -- a trait reflected in his shot map.
Only Clermont Foot’s Mohamed Bayo had a higher xG/Shot than Ekitike in Ligue 1 this season for forwards with at least 1200 minutes played. Ekitike will lead France’s forward line at this summer’s tournament, with the likes of St. Etienne’s Adil Aouchiche looking to pick him out with threaded through balls and cutbacks. Will he come out of it with his reputation further enhanced?
Player 2: Johann Lepenant, France
Lepenant is yet to grace Ligue 1, but his growing reputation makes it likely that it’s only a matter of time before he graduates there or a league of similarly elevated quality, possibly even this summer.
He’s already served his apprenticeship in Ligue 2, making over half a century of appearances for Caen at just 19 years old, and it’s clear to see why the Normandy-based club have integrated him into the first team so early.
His role in the Caen team doesn’t extend much beyond being an absolute nuisance to the opposition as they try to build through the middle third. If the opponent has the ball, Lepenant’s plotting to try and win it back.
His passing profile is relatively simple. Lepenant doesn’t often attempt to break any lines, but he has demonstrated an ability to spread the play to the opposite flank with accuracy, showing that his range isn’t limited to simple lay-offs to more creative teammates.
Expect Lepenant to roam the midfield and disrupt opposition attacks with energy and aggression. There isn’t a blade of grass that his boots won’t touch this summer.
Player 3: Gino Infantino, Argentina
Infantino is a player that already has a burgeoning reputation on the youth scene, having trialled with Real Madrid and Villarreal in his younger days and being called up to Argentinian age-group teams consistently throughout his development.
The midfielder broke into the Rosario Central team last season at 18 and has started to have an increasing influence on games in the notoriously-aggressive Liga Profesional, clearly improving in several key metrics in the 2022 season compared to his breakthrough 2021 season.
For a player aged just 19, Infantino is already demonstrating he can handle the physical side of the game, breaking up opposition attacks regularly and being a disruptive influence in the centre of the park. He’s often first on the scene when an opponent tries to break through the midfield: Infantino is averaging 28.3 Aggressive Actions per 90 minutes - tackles, pressures, or fouls within 2 seconds of an opposition ball receipt - this season, a number that ranks in the top 10 amongst the Liga Profesional’s central midfielders.
He's shown quality in possession, too and should find the decreased intensity of the tournament (compared to the Liga Profesional) a blessing. This season, Infantino’s played 27% of his passes while under pressure from an opponent (third-highest for Liga Profesional central midfielders), and he’s drawn 3.4 fouls per 90 minutes (fourth-highest), many of them in the middle and final third.
With more time on the ball, we could see his talents shine brighter in this tournament.
Player 4: Daniel Andrés Luna, Colombia
Luna already has silverware in his locker despite his fledgling career. His team Deportivo Cali won the Finalización league title in the second stage of the Colombian Primera A at the end of 2021, with Luna breaking through off the bench throughout the season.
In 2022, he’s finally been granted a run of starts and so far hasn’t disappointed, contributing three goals in 576 minutes of Primera A action. Luna’s shown a promising instinct for finding good positions in the box while playing off the left or behind the striker.
Deportivo Cali are easing him into their first team, but greater experience at the Tournoi Maurice Revello should further his development.
Player 5: Víctor Medina, Panama
Bet you didn’t think we’d be including a Panamanian age-group player here, did you…
Already capped by the senior Panama national team, Víctor Medina’s breaking through at current Costa Rican Primera División champions Deportivo Saprissa. The 21 year old consistently displayed his ball-carrying and dribbling ability during his 621 minutes this season, completing 3.5 successful dribbles per 90 minutes - the highest rate for all players in the Primera División.
Added to this, Medina’s On-Ball Value (OBV) - a model that assigns a value to every action on the pitch based on whether it increased or decreased a team’s chances of scoring and conceding - from dribbling and ball carries was the third-highest in the Costa Rican top flight this season.
His ability will be tested against more illustrious group stage opponents in Argentina and France. But Medina is undoubtedly one to watch in this summer’s Tournoi Maurice Revello.