Rennes' Guela Doué on the ball

A (new) Éléphant in the Room: Rennes' Guela Doué

A (new) Éléphant in the Room: Rennes' Guela Doué

Publish on 03/27 at 20:30 - E. DEVIN


Earning his first caps for Côte d'Ivoire is proof positive of the academy product's continued rise at Rennes.

A part of the same academy class as the likes of Eduardo Camavinga and Georginio Rutter, Guéla Doué has long been a player whose achievements are somewhat overshadowed by others. Even his younger brother, Désiré, and his cousin, Yann Gboho have found the limelight more often than the Angers-born player. Part of this has been competition -- while Doué is a versatile player, right back is his preferred role, and his predecessor, Hamari Traoré, is nothing short of a club legend, and part of it has been that versatility -- he has also lined up in defensive midfield, at centre back and even on the right flank.

This season, though, that has all changed. Not often first choice under Bruno Génésio, Doué has featured extensively under Julien Stéphan, especially following the departure of Loren Assignon, who had started through most of the early season. He even seems to be seeing off a challenge from January signing Alidu Seidu, a Ghanaian international who arrived at not inconsiderable expense from Clermont.

As reward for becoming a regular for a Stade Rennais side who have been one of the division's best sides in the calendar year, Doué even earned his first international call-up, although not for his native France. Having already been called up for Côte d'Ivoire's U-23s last year, the newly-minted African champions gave him his senior debut over the break, and what a debut it was!



After playing 30 minutes in a friendly draw with Benin at the weekend, Doué again came off the bench against Uruguay, and this time his appearance was decisive, as he scored the winner ten minutes from time. For a player rumored to be heading out on loan as recently as two months ago, it was sweet redemption indeed. It's true that Doué will also face competition with the national team -- AS Monaco's Wilfried Singo has been having a fine season as well, to say nothing of captain Serge Aurier, but this pair of bright appearances will have done much to boost his stock in the eyes of coach Emerse Faé, himself a product of a Breton club, having come through at Nantes before playing for Côte d'Ivoire.

Speaking to the club's website, Doué reflected on both achieving his goals on the pitch with his country and the importance of becoming an important part of the first team for a club he joined at the tender age of eight. "When I'm on the pitch at Roazhon Park, I feel the same chills every time. And as long as I'm wearing this jersey, there won't be an evening when I won't be filled by sense of pride in defending our colors."

He also described the level of self-belief he's had to have kept, and his goals for the future, underscoring that while he is happy with the progress he has made, he sees his recent achievements only as part of a continuum. "I have always worked hard to achieve my goals. A career is built step by step, each has its own rhythm, its history. Signing professionally in my club was a mission, but it was just the beginning. My first few minutes, my first start, my first assist, these are each time levels, I don't intend to stop there. My obsession when I get up is the same every morning, working again and again to never stop making progress."

On recent evidence, that progress seems well-suited to deal with a variety of obstacles, and to allow Doué to, like his brother, continue to propel his club up the table, with a crunch trip to Strasbourg looming this Sunday. For a player with just ten minutes in Ligue 1 under his belt prior to the current season, it's been an impressive rise and one that looks set to continue apace.

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