Ben Yedder's star rising
Wissam Ben Yedder is just an ordinary guy, but his journey to Ligue 1 has been anything but traditional going from futsal to amateur football and then to rising star status at Toulouse FC within a matter of years. Exclusive.
The mercurial winger didn't receive formal training at a youth academy but rather was spotted playing Futsal for Garche in the Paris suburbs and got the chance to play for amateur side Alfortville before Toulouse recognised his talent and signed him in June, 2010.
"This is Toulouse," the 22-year-old told Ligue1.com in the heart of the Ville Rose. "The city, the sun… I've been here two years and frankly I like it here,". "It's calm, nothing like Paris. It's a change for me."
Ben Yedder left his home in the Paris suburbs two years ago, bringing his family with him to the southwest when he signed a professional contract with Toulouse, slowly but surely he has found his feet in the world of football, maturing both on and off the pitch.
Ben Yedder: 'Focus on the football'
"The first year is the hardest," admitted Toulouse's rising star "You're not used to it. I was with my Mum all the time and my brothers and sisters, and it's difficult to break away from the family nest. The second year I became a man. I learned to do things the right way and to focus on the football, my passion. I think that helped me in the second year."
Last term, Ben Yedder broke in to the first team squad, making 14 appearances and scoring his first goal, against Evian. Now the skillful schemer wants to make a much bigger impact… and he displayed his determination in the pre-season games, scoring twice and setting up two more.
Casanova: 'Real quality'
"I've rarely seen a player so skillful and comfortable on the ball. Once he gets up to the pace of Ligue 1, I think he'll be one of the best," attested veteran TFC midfielder Etienne Didot, whose coach Alain Casanova can but agree with him concerning the Ben Yedder's promise.
"He has real quality in the penalty area. He's capable of setting up goals and he is also clinical and scores goals himself," said the TFC boss. "I think he could be one of the revelations of the season. I hope so for him and for us as well."
Ben Yedder started the season on the bench but was thrust in to the action at half time against Montpellier on Saturday, with Toulouse trailing 1-0. He added speed, verve and aggression, as Montpellier skipper Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa would no doubt testify. And, crucially, he scored the equalising goal - just his second for the club - nodding in a fine cross from Serge Aurier.
Show of faith
Casanova decided against signing another striker in the summer, insisting that Ben Yedder can provide him with a useful centre forward option, as well as operating in midfield and out wide. Having just signed a contract extension tying him to the club until 2015, these are exciting times for Wissam Ben Yedder. Most definitely a player to keep your eye on this season.