Ligue 2 have been very generous in producing exceptional young talents since last season and this summer, many names were successful in securing big moves with a substantial fee involved. Some moved one step above to Ligue 1, some others played in a slightly higher level of football albeit still second tier, and some secured a move to other top-flight clubs in a top league in Europe.
Lorient, specifically, let go of two of their best talents: Alexis Claude-Maurice to Nice and Illan Meslier to Leeds (loan with an option to buy). They did manage to keep some of their top prospects though with Julien Ponceau, Yoane Wissa, and Houboulang Mendes all stayed at Stade du Moustoir. Some new names such as Tom Renaud and Enzo Le Fée were also promoted from the B side.
With the departure of Claude-Maurice, Lorient needed a new creator in the advanced area. Somebody who’s technically skilled, quick-witted, and able to create something out of nothing. Le Fée immediately rose up and shine since the start of the season, showing that he’s capable of producing the same, if not, better results than Claude-Maurice in the same position.
The 2000-born French midfielder has been consistently impressive and shows significant development since last season. Even now, he seemed to even put the highly-regarded Ponceau in his shadows with his brilliance. It’s only a matter of time now before he made his big break, but for now, Lorient seem to be the perfect place for him to develop.
Strength and agility
Standing 1.70m (5’7”) tall with a lean body build and not particularly developed upper and lower muscles, Le Fée is not a very strong player at all. The small-framed youngster shows the lack of ability to protect the by shielding it and he seems quite easy to outmuscle in challenges.
However, the Lorient-born midfielder is very agile and extremely good at staying on his feet.
The right-footed midfielder is very well-coordinated and has very good body balance. His excellent agility and balance can be seen as he’s not just able to manoeuvre and turn quickly both with or without the ball but also is very difficult to move off the ball when he’s already into his stride.
Despite his lack of strength as mentioned in this tactical analysis, Le Fée consistently showed commitment and determination in his game by working hard and actively engage in challenges. Strangely, he’s actually quite good at winning challenges despite his seemingly lack of strength and physicality.
Le Fée averages around 17 challenges per game which is highly impressive and shows how active he is both in attack and defence. 7 of his challenges are defensive challenges and he manages to win around 50% of them per game which is, again, quite impressive. 10 of his challenges are attacking challenges and he manages to win around 45% of them which is still very good and shows how good he is at retaining the ball in a 1v1 duel.
Aerial challenges may not be a big part of his game but Le Fée seems to be fairly proficient at winning these duels too which is pretty ironic due to his lack of strength and size. However, Le Fée shows decent reach when leaping mainly due to his vertical explosiveness.
And to add to that, Le Fée also shows a good reading of the game and anticipation which can be seen by the way he positions himself well and times his jumps perfectly to meet the ball with his head. He can be seen struggling against much larger opponents though, but against players with similar or slightly bigger frame, he seems to be able to outsmart them to win the aerial balls.
Le Fée averages around 1.2 aerial challenges per game, winning 48% of them.
Speed and stamina
Le Fée is quite a quick player, especially over a short distance. This is, of course, due to his explosiveness and quick burst of acceleration. The advanced midfielder also shows very good ability to accelerate, decelerate, and then quickly re-accelerate (in the same direction) without really taking a lot of time and losing too much momentum. This makes him quite a burden to deal with, especially in a 1v1 situation.
The 19-year-old midfielder also possesses a pretty impressive amount of pace over long distance which makes him quite useful on the break. However, despite his good short and long-distance speed, Le Fée seems to not possess a good level of endurance.
His lack of stamina can be seen with him not being able to maintain his top speed over long distance (around 40-60 m). Often after a long run, he’d also show signs of tiredness with his body gesture. There’s often also a visible slight drop of performance late in the second half with the midfielder seemingly losing a bit of speed and tends to press and runs less.
Le Fée usually tries to trick his lack of stamina by picking his runs or picking only the right moments to press. Le Fée also doesn’t always track back and will only do so if his side of the pitch is being attacked and outnumbered. He does show commitment to the game by working hard, covering a good amount of area on the pitch, and actively contributes in every phase of the game though, however, still, his lack of stamina is a burden in his game. This is certainly an aspect he needs to improve in the future.
Ball control and distribution
The Lorient hot prospect is very neat on the ball and controls the ball very well upon receiving it. He shows excellent first touch and the ability to control difficult passes calmly and neatly using either foot or his chest.
Le Fée tends to try to receive the ball with his back foot and with open body shape, allowing him not just to be able to turn to a certain direction quickly, but also able to have a good vision of the pitch. This helps him a lot upon receiving the ball as he can make his decisions quickly after gathering the information prior to receiving the ball, thus ensuring that he’s always one step ahead of his opponents.
This is, of course, necessary due to the fact that he often finds himself playing in a very tight space in advanced areas of the pitch where he has only little space and time to make his decision and execute the right technique. Le Fée’s excellent ball control and dribbling skills, exceptional agility and balance, as well as acceleration and quick thinking makes him quite proficient in escaping pressure and retaining the ball in tight spaces.
Le Fée is a proficient dribbler with bags of tricks up his sleeve. According to his stats, Le Fée averages around 5.2 dribbles per game with 48% success rate which is quite impressive. Comparing him to a similar player in Yari Verschaeren from Anderlecht, the Belgian wonderkid averages less dribbles with 3.6 this season albeit with a higher success rate of 60%. Both players show proficiency and effectiveness in dribbling. Though perhaps not as fancy as Neymar when it comes to dribbling, Le Fée puts his excellent agility to good use by using feints to fool his opponents into thinking he might go one way before utilising his quick foot to go the other way.
Aside from his splendid dribbling skills, Le Fée is also a very good distributor of the ball.
This season, the Lorient man averages around 44 passes per game with 81% accuracy which is quite impressive due to the fact that he is often played in advanced areas where there’s very little time and space and the risk of misplacing his passes are bigger. Verschaeren, for comparison, only manages to record an average of 33 passes per game with 77% accuracy which is still pretty good, but not as good as Le Fée.
Le Fée also shows excellent ability in delivering long passes with him averaging at least two long passes per game with a very impressive 80% accuracy. Verschaeren, meanwhile, averages around 1.2 long passes per game this season but has a higher success rate of 84%.
His excellent distribution ability is mainly down to his vision and technique and, of course, also related to his quick thinking and smart decision making as well as perfect timing to release the ball. Le Fée likes to take only a few touches when playing the ball in order to avoid pressure and give the opponents less time to react to his actions. In the picture below, for example, Le Fée receives the ball with his right foot and moved it across his body before releasing a diagonal lofted through pass into space for his teammate to run onto. He did all that only with two touches.
Le Fée seems to tend to deliver his passes with pace as well, making it very difficult for the opposing players to deal with.
When it comes to crossing though, Le Fée is not very proficient despite him being played on either side of the wing quite often.
The attacking midfielder averages around 1.4 crossing attempts per game this season, however, none of the crosses are successful.
Le Fée actually has a pretty good ball-striking technique which can be seen especially in set-pieces. He also likes to try shots from long range, however, he seems to lack the accuracy in most of these shots despite hitting them with pretty good amount of power and technique.
As you can see in the shot map above, most of Le Fée’s shots are from outside the box. However, only a total of four of his shots are on target from a total 20 attempts (1.5 per game). Verschaeren, for comparison, averages around one shot per game with 50% accuracy which shows that the Belgian is a bit more effective when it comes to shooting compared to the Frenchman.
Positioning and movements
Le Fée is mainly a central player, most often playing as a central midfielder or attacking midfielder albeit able to play in a deeper role as well as a #6. However, due to the player’s tactical flexibility and versatility, he can also play as a wide midfielder on either side of the flank.
Before discussing Le Fée’s positioning and movements, let’s take a look at his heatmap this season.
This heatmap shows Le Fée’s tendency in positioning.
Le Fée tends to position himself quite high and wide when playing as a winger/wide midfielder rather than closer to the centre. I believe this is due to the tactical instructions as his positioning allows one of the two centre-forwards (Lorient tend to play in a 4-4-2 system) to sit in the half-space and make an underlapping run when a space opens or to open up space. The centre-midfield usually will also close down and offer a passing option in the half-space.
When playing as an attacking midfielder (in Lorient’s 4-2-3-1 system), he’ll try to position himself in an advanced position although occasionally dropping deep if the pivot seems to be inaccessible in order to provide support.
A lot of times when playing as the attacking midfielder, he’ll position himself in between the lines and between two opposing players (pocket of space).
As mentioned before he tends to try to receive on the half-turn in order to be able to turn quickly. He often seems to try to not have his back facing the opposing goal as he’s aware of the lack of his ability to shield the ball when under pressure. In the picture above, Le Fée initially sits high and occupies a defender. Upon seeing his teammate shaping himself up to try and find a pass between the lines, Le Fée immediately drops and positions himself in a pocket of space and asks for the ball to feet.
When being deployed as a centre-mid or a defensive midfielder, Le Fée tends to drop deep and make himself available as the first pass in the midfield as shown in the picture below.
In the picture above, Le Fée drops down to offer a passing option for the centre-back before, in turn, distributing the ball towards more advanced players. He seems to have the tendency of playing diagonal balls (usually towards the left flank due to him being mainly right-footed) upon receiving the ball in the midfield.
These tendencies in his positioning and movements show not only good spatial and positional awareness but also good tactical understanding and decision making.
Le Fée has undoubtedly grown and improved significantly since making his debut with the senior side last season. His hard work definitely has paid off this season with the manager awarding him more and more game time as he cements himself in the first-team squad.
A quick and extremely agile midfielder with very intelligent footballing mind and impressive technical proficiency, Le Fée is destined for greatness. With his quick wit and willingness to learn as he has shown by his dramatic improvements since last season – combined with his commitment and resilience in the game as well as impressive tactical intelligence, Le Fée may certainly be able to fit into various tactics and systems as well as overcome many adversities at different teams in different leagues.
The comparison to Anderlecht’s Verschaeren is, of course, due to both player’s similarities in various aspects of their respective attributes. From the excellent pace and agility as well as the high work rate and hard-working mentality, to the lack of strength and stamina. Both players are also very versatile due to the fact that both are able to play on either side of the wing as well as pretty much anywhere in central areas (defensive midfielder, centre-mid, attacking midfielder).
He does have several weaknesses in his game which includes his lack of strength, stamina, and effectiveness in shooting – however, he still has a lot of room and time for improvements in these areas.
Le Fée is already an established first-team player in Ligue 2 at Lorient despite being only 19 years old. However, he already shows maturity and composure and it’s only a matter of time before he gets snatched out by one of the top teams in Europe.
I’d definitely recommend mid or top-level EFL Championship clubs to take a closer look at this player as he looks to be a very, very promising talent.
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