ONE TO WATCH: ISMAILA SARR (RENNES)

La tête gagnante d'Ismaïla Sarr.
Ligue 1 Conforama > Interviews
21/03/2019

Stade Rennais FC's mesmerising winger Ismaila Sarr is a young man on a decidedly upward trajectory. At just 21, he is a full Senegal international - and a key man in Rennes' revival under new coach Julien Stéphan.

Against Angers in August, Ismaila Sarr clinched Rennes' first win of the season with a virtuoso strike. Not that the Senegalese forward was taking the plaudits.

"I controlled the ball and then I just thought I'd have a go," he told the Ligue 1 Show. "I scored the goal but it was a collective effort."

'Speed, power and energy'

Sarr followed that effort up with a similar strike against Strasbourg, but it's been his dribbling more than his shooting that has set him apart this season.

"He's hard to deal with; he unsettles opponents and often hurts them," said Rennes coach Julien Stéphan. "That's just Isma, it's the way he plays, with this speed, power and energy."

The young winger first caught the eye at Metz during the 2016-17 season and his raw speed, skill and power even attracted the attention of Barcelona. But Sarr decided an intermediary step was required, and sealed an 18m euro switch to Stade Rennais FC.

Confirmation

After a promising opening campaign at Roazhon Park, Sarr shone at the World Cup with Senegal - for whom he has 20 caps and three goals - and is now confirming his status as one of the most direct and dangerous forwards in Ligue 1.

The 21-year-old has scored eight goals in all competitions, most recently netting against Arsenal in the Europa League. He followed that up with a devastating display against Caen in Week 28, setting up his side's second and third goals.

Game bred

With the games coming thick and fast, Julien Stéphan is backing his flying winger to do more damage in the coming weeks.

"He doesn't look tired, no, he's in good shape," declared the Rennes boss. "Some players just need to play. Ismaila is a guy who needs to keeping playing games in order to stay in form and stay dynamic. So I'm not worried about that."


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