Timothée Pembélé may only be a matter of months past his 18th birthday, but the Paris Saint-Germain youngster is already making his mark on the champions' first team.
Competition for a place at right-back remains fierce at PSG, with the Borussia Dortmund-bound Thomas Meunier replaced by Alessandro Florenzi in the summer, but with Pembélé already on their books, the champions could be sorted in the position for the next decade.
Pembélé already has six senior games and a maiden goal against RC Strasbourg Alsace under his belt, and there looks to be plenty more where that came from. Ligue1.com takes a closer look…
Born in Beaumont-sur-Oise, a commune 20 miles north of Paris, to parents of Congolese descent, Pembélé shares a hometown and family heritage with PSG teammate Presnel Kimpembe.
Like Kimpembe, Pembélé is a defender au fait with some of the darker arts of the game; unlike the PSG vice-captain, he hasn't been at the club since the age of 10, instead proving himself at local side US Persan 03 before the capital club took a gamble on his talent when he was 15.
Three short years later and Pembélé has a FIFA U-17 World Cup bronze medal, a Trophée des Champions and as shiny new contract which runs until 2024 to his name.
Style of play:
Pembélé is that rare breed of full-back who looks equally adept whether defending or attacking. He reads the game well and can nick the ball off an attacker with his pace and tenacity, but once he has it back he has the technique to turn whilst hugging the touchline, before bombing passed a marker he himself was marking moments before.
Although he can play across the defence and even wide in midfield - Pembélé made the FIFA U-17 World Cup team of the tournament as a left-back - the player himself asserts that playing on the right is where he feels most comfortable.
Having lost Tanguy Nianzou on a free to Bayern Munich last summer, PSG were keen not to see other young players follow suit and promised Pembélé significant minutes at the start of the season. They have been good to their word, and handed the youngster his Ligue 1 Uber Eats debut in November's 2-2 draw with Girondins de Bordeaux. Three games later and he was opening the scoring in a 4-0 win over Strasbourg. Mauricio Pochettino has thus far primarily trusted Florenzi since replacing Thomas Tuchel as coach, but the season is long, and Pembélé also has 11 years on the Italian.
Watch: Highlights of PSG's 4-0 win over Strasbourg
What they said:
"Before the game, I listened to a lot of music in the dressing room to relax and focus. I tried not to speak and laugh too much with the other youngsters in order to be concentrate as much as possible on what I was going to do. I spoke to Presko. Keylor, Sergio and Marquinhos also gave me a lot of advice before kick-off. They told me to stay calm, to not be afraid, to not stress, even if I had butterflies in my stomach because it was my first game at the Parc des Princes."
- Pembélé outlines how Kimpembe helped him before his debut
"I'm so happy to have scored and especially just before the festive period, it's a great Christmas present for my family. We needed to win the game to end the year on a high and we're delighted we did that. Happy holidays and Merry Christmas to you and your families. We'll see you very soon."
- Pembélé after his maiden PSG goal