Unbeaten in his first five games as Angers coach, Gérald Baticle has reped the benefits of placing his faith in youth.
Particularly impressive for a club with 10 points to their name have been 17-year old forward Mohamed-Ali Cho and 21-year-old midfielder Batista Mendy. Baticle, the former OL assistant coach, spent five years as an Auxerre player in the 1990s when Guy Roux also gave youth its head.
Baticle told L'Equipe: "When I played at Auxerre, lots of young players came to toughen up at training before showing their value in matches. When they had sufficiently shown their potential, they took the place of the usual starter. That way of functioning pleased me. I found it in part at Lyon where in the 2010s we relied a lot on Academy players. Here, I told the squad I wouldn't pay attention to age. I don't look at the ID card. What happens on the field guides my choices."
Baticle wants his young charges to fulfill their potential and that means tough love at times. He admitted: "The greater the potential, the more demanding I am. On the pitch, I get at everybody because I want them all to progress. We must also develop their professionalism so that they continue to develop. That's indispensable to having a good and long career."