Rising Star: Cédric Bakambu
Sochaux's Cédric Bakambu backs up his talent with humility and a burning desire to improve, and with performances such as his two-goal haul against Rennes to show for it, his star is definitely on the rise.
Strong, fast and talented, Bakambu has been on the Sochaux books since the age of 15 and has been a first-team regular for the past 12 months, top-scoring for Les Lionceaux last season with seven league goals and scoring four in his first 14 appearances this term.
A European champion with France at Under-19 level, Bakambu is satisfied with his progress at Sochaux but knows he is still capable of improving.
"I sense that I can do more to help the team, especially in terms of my stats," he admitted. "I've got six goals so far this season but I hope to score more."
'I can be more consistent'
A centre-forward by trade, Bakambu is being used on the right flank by coach Hervé Renard, a position and a role he's working hard to adapt to. But in order to force Renard's hand and secure a move back to his preferred position, the 22-year-old needs to become more consistent - and he knows it.
"Above all, I need to become mentally tougher," he said. "I need to keep my head up when things aren't going my way. Then I can be more consistent. I know I'm capable of turning in a big performance, but doing that week in and week out is more difficult."
Bakambu turned in one such brilliant display against Rennes in Week 19, scoring both goals in the 2-1 win to emulate the decisive performance he turned in against Paris Saint-Germain last season, where he scored the winning goal in a stunning 3-2 triumph over the eventual champions at the Stade Bonal.
"We can take confidence from that kind of performance. We were excellent last season against PSG," he recalled before coming back down to earth. "Then again, every game is different."