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PSG's Presnel Kimpembe faced with big career decision

Wednesday 27th September 2017
Paris Saint-Germain's talented young centre-back, Presnel Kimpembe, 22, has reached a watershed moment in his development. Is the club too big for him?

There comes a point in every player's career where they must commit to decisions which may seem strange in the short-term but will benefit them going forward into the future. Having made his senior debut in a brief cameo during the 2014/15 campaign, Kimpembe has excelled when given opportunities to feature alongside the likes of Thiago Silva in PSG's backline. Yet, for a side with such star-studded talent across the pitch, it's hard to imagine pathways into their ranks for emerging prospects.

Unai Emery displayed a significant level of confidence in the Frenchman last term by opting not to sign a replacement following David Luiz's return to Chelsea. He was not disappointed.

A sufficient back-up option to either Marquinhos or the aforementioned Silva, Kimpembe has established himself as one of Europe's most promising young defenders. At 22, however, he should be playing on a weekly basis. Despite PSG's high hopes for his future, recent comments suggest the player himself believes his time is now.

Quick, athletic and intelligent, it's easy to see why he's so highly-rated. Composure is a struggle for many prospects. Impetuous youth and all that.Maturation can often be the difference between asserting themselves and failing to impress on a regular basis.
Composure is a quality Kimpembe has in abundance. When tasked with his first UEFA Champions League outing, a last-16 tie against Barcelona no less, he took the occasion in stride. Effective in shutting out Lionel Messi, he combined well with Marquinhos to keep a clean sheet. It was an impressive display from someone many suggested would struggle pre-match.

We all know what happened in the return leg. Barça managed to recover incredibly to progress after winning 6-1 on the night (6-5 aggregate). Yet, amidst all the hype and excitement after arguably the greatest comeback in history, where was Kimpembe? Watching on, speechless, from the substitutes' bench.

Despite an excellent display previously, Silva returned to the heart of defence. Just like that, Kimpembe was forgotten. No one is saying the youngster can save five more goals per match than the veteran Brazilian. Still, with one sole Champions League appearance, coupled with only four starts against top six sides in France, it's a surprise a search for Kimpembe hasn't been launched sooner.
Waiting for either Silva or Marquinhos to sustain a long-term injury is not the way to manage one's career. It's clear one or sometimes both may be rested ahead of an important fixture. Despite Kimpembe's comments, he must be keen to play more regularly.

I'm in competition with two great players and if I played tonight it means that the coach put faith in me. I try to give this confidence back every minute I'm on the pitch. I'm ambitious and would like to play more, but I'm okay with this situation.

When you're compared with Vincent Kompany and are tipped for future captaincy by a former team-mate, it's hard not to want more. Despite signing a contract extension until 2021, perhaps PSG could mirror Chelsea by loaning him out to a good European side for a season. He'll learn more and gain valuable experience playing against tough opposition on a weekly basis.

Everton and Liverpool were both linked this past summer. Why not offer him that chance? Neither side is particularly convincing defensively. Both would benefit from his presence at the back. In doing so, he wouldn't only improve over time but continue to work hard with the confidence PSG coaches are tracking his progress. After all, with the ambitious program underway, who wouldn't want to achieve their long-term objectives in Paris?
Mosope Ominiyi
Mosope is an enthusiast of young talent across European football. Former sports editor at VAVEL, he writes for a range of different sites - follow him @Football365Mo to keep updated with his writing on various platforms.

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