Stade Brestois Jérémy Le Douaron may not yet be a household name, but that could be about to change. From fifth-tier football to being a key player in Brest's stellar run of form in the space of 18 months, the 23-year-old is enjoying a meteoric rise...
The left-footed attacker was playing fifth-tier football just 18 months ago, and understandably he took time to acclimatise after joining Brest last summer.
"Yes, that's true. I got my first taste of Ligue 1 last year and I felt a bit of pressure," he told the Ligue 1 Show on Bein Sports. "Now I've had a season to adapt, I'm much more used to the intensity and I'm hoping to do better in this my second season."
The 23-year-old got off to a flying start this season, scoring a last-minute leveller against fellow Bretons Rennes in the first home game of the season.
"I felt a lot of emotion, especially because it came in the derby," he recalled. "The fans were back at the Stade Francis Le Blé, so it was a great feeling… a really emotional, happy moment for me!"
Le Douaron has kicked on from there. With five goals, he's the club's second-top scorer. Indeed, the Brittany-born attacker looks so at home in the top flight these days, it's easy to forget just how far he's come.
Der Zakarian convinced
'He was playing in the fifth tier two years ago ! Or was it the third tier?," marvelled Brest coach Michel Der Zakarian. "In any case, he's a young man who played in Ligue 1 for the first time last season. He has to steadily raise his game, show a bit more personality…but if he's performing well, then I'll pick him."
Which isn't to say that the veteran coach doesn't see room for improvement in his young midfielder.
"He's quick, but he's also tall… he has a good left foot," he offered. "He just needs to be a bit tidier with the ball."
Le Douaron is thriving under Der Zakarian. Brest were floundering in 19th place in October, but they've risen to mid-table after a run of seven games unbeaten - and tellingly, Le Douaron has started all of those matches.
Given that he has contributed three goals and one assist in that time, he is clearly an important factor and Der Zakarian now considers the gangly goalscorer as one of his main men.
"It's great he's on such a good run," said the Brest boss. "I hope he keeps on winning games for us."
Brest's next opponents are high flying Marseille, and if Le Douaron can silence the Vélodrome, his name will become even more familiar to observers of the European game.
>> PREVIEW: Marseille measure up to Brest side on historic run