Convincing and decisive in LOSC's December friendlies, striker Alan Virginius could be the attacking surprise package of the second half of the Ligue 1 Uber Eats season - but he isn't alone. Check out our run-down of goal-hungry youngsters to watch in the New Year as season 2022-23 resumes.
Could Alan Virginius be LOSC's big surprise in the second half of the season? Recruited in the summer from FC Sochaux-Montbéliard (46 games in Ligue 2 BKT, eight goals), Alan Virginius is starring in Les Dogues' mid-season friendlies after having played only a few minutes in Ligue 1 Uber Eats over the first three months of the competition (five appearances, 63 minutes played, two shots attempted).
Five goals in mid-season friendlies!
Monitored by a host of European scouts since he was young, the French U20 international took advantage of Jonathan David and Timothy Weah's being in World Cup duties to showcase his qualities for coach Paulo Fonseca.
Notably scoring two doubles - the second of which came against Cambuur of the Netherlands at the end of LOSC's winter camp in Spain - the prodigy from Seloncourt in eastern France found the net five times in Lille's first four friendly matches. The ex-Sochaux prospect even added an assist for Edon Zhegrova against the Dutch club.
Fonseca: 'Fast and technically very strong'
This makes him an attractive option for Fonseca as LOSC push for a European finish, and we could well see more of the 19-year-old as of Round 16's trip to Clermont.
"It's a good surprise for everyone," explained LOSC captain José Fonte, in La Voix du Nord. "He has changed his position a little bit, by being put back in the centre, and it's working."
After gaining confidence during the month of December, the 19-year-old striker should have the opportunity to showcase himself in Ligue 1 Uber Eats.
"His profile is interesting," said LOSC's Portuguese coach after the training camp. "He is fast and technically very strong."
But wait, there's more!
Matthis Abline (Stade Rennais)
Although he was already in the rotation of Rennes' strikers during the first part of the season (one goal and one assist in ten starts), 19-year-old Matthis Abline kept up the good work during the mid-season break, by scoring against Feyenoord (2-1). Against the Dutch league leaders, Rennes had Arnaud Kalimuendo and Amine Gouiri in the starting line-up, but it was Abline who came on as a superb (69') and converted the winning penalty.
Mbaye Niang (AJ Auxerre)
During the first preparatory match against FC Metz, Mbaye Niang scored four goals in just eight minutes! Very good for the Senegalese hit-man's confidence heading into the second half of the season with AJA - he had scored just twice in ten appearances in Ligue 1 Uber Eats in the current campaign. Niang did it again on Wednesday, when he scored the only goal in the win over Hadjuk Split. As his four goals (including a penalty) remind us, the Auxerre striker - the fourth youngest scorer in the history of the league - remains capable of great things.
Noah Holm (Stade de Reims)
The Norwegian arrived in France at the end of the summer window and has yet to carve out a senior-team spot at Stade de Reims, having played just 95 minutes over six matches. However, the 21-year-old played the whole of the second half against Sochaux (3-0), a match scheduled two weeks into the side's preparations. The Nordic striker took advantage of this to score his first goal for Reims. Will Holm get more playing time with coach Will Still, who gave him his first start in the Round 15 clash with Montpellier?
Myron Boadu (AS Monaco)
The 21-year-old Dutch international is in his second season in Ligue 1 Uber Eats. Boadu had a slow start to the campaign, with a single appearance, away to Montpellier (0-2, R10), which he exploited perfectly with a goal. Since then, the striker has not left the Monaco team sheet. During the preparatory matches, after 45 minutes against Sevilla, the Monegasque took advantage of a perfect through-pass from Golovin to find the net against Fiorentina (1-1). Boadu, who started in the absence of Wissam Ben Yedder and Kevin Volland - and with Embolo on the bench - showed that he has not lost any of his talent.
Bradley Barcola (Olympique Lyonnais)
Although he has only played 74 minutes so far this season in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, the 20-year-old Lyon man could be in line for more after scoring in the warm-up match against Liverpool. It's a good thing that Laurent Blanc has announced that he wants to introduce more competition into his squad - without specifying in which areas - so it remains to be seen whether Barcola will have a chance to prove decisive this season.
Ilyes Housni (Paris Saint-Germain)
The 17-year-old Franco-Moroccan has been a new face in the Parisian squad this term, and has taken advantage of his call-ups against Paris FC and QRM to make his presence felt. Against the Normans, the PSG youngster struck twice to back up his first-class performances in the Youth League (eight goals in six games) and in the U19s with PSG (19 goals in 17 games). With the club's World Cup stars (Mbappé, Messi and Neymar) likely to be rested more often than they were in the first half of the season in Ligue 1 Uber Eats, Housni could be the lad to step up and do a job for the capital club.