Julien Duranville: Borussia Dortmund’s next Jadon Sancho? – scout report
He could become the next Jadon Sancho, Erling Haaland or Jude Bellingham: Borussia Dortmund has caught the next internationally sought-after teenager and signed Julien Duranville.
Duranville joined the famous RSC Anderlecht youth at the age of seven. The son of a Congolese mother and a father who grew up in Cote d’Ivoire, he moved in quick strides on and off the pitch at the 34-time Belgian champions. He soon earned the nickname “lightning bolt” due to his speed as a youngster, and his career progressed with similar momentum at a club renowned throughout Europe for carefully helping talented youngsters to build on their potential.
The new Dortmund attacker made his professional debut two weeks after his 16th birthday – playing his first match for Anderlecht against Club Brugge on the final day of the 2021/22 season. He has been part of the professional squad in Anderlecht since this season and has played six league games and four UEFA Europa Conference League games since then. “The clear plan is that he is a squad player in the first team. He will train and also play with us,” BVB coach Edin Terzic made clear.
He is considered to be one of the most talented teenagers in Belgium and is tipped to follow in the footsteps of other Anderlecht’s famous graduates such as Romelu Lukaku, Vincent Kompany, Youri Tielemans, Leander Dendoncker, Albert Sambi Lokonga, Alexis Saelemaekers, and Jérémy Doku. But how good is Dortmund’s new talent exactly? In this tactical analysis in form of a scout report, we will discover Julien Duranville’s strengths and weaknesses. Also in this analysis, we will look how he fits into Terzic’s tactics at Dortmund.
Julien Duranville is a flamboyant and explosive winger who is equally good on both wings. However, most of the time, he is used on the left wing. His best role is playing as an inside forward.
Inside forwards are players that frequently receive possession in the half-space between the opposition’s defenders. When in possession of the ball, these players look to create chances from wide areas with direct involvement in chance creation, build-up play and cutting inside through dribbles. Players within this role are often involved around the penalty area instead and also register fewer crosses than other forwards.
There are two immediate standout attributes about Julien Duranville, and one of them lands here in the physical attributes. Overall, he is an incredible athlete, but both his acceleration and speed over distances always make him one of the fastest players on the pitch. He provides great acceleration, agility, flair, body balance, changes of pace, and coordination.
Furthermore, he is quite short. This height makes him stronger than someone of his size would normally be, because of a lower centre of gravity. He has a surprising amount of confidence ‘posting up’ with defenders on his back and using his technical skill to turn them. This height tends to make him a relatively weak threat aerially, but Duranville is nothing if not determined and he at least contests almost everything.
All in all, he is a player with a decent body mass ratio, physical strength, power, stamina and natural fitness who feels comfortable in contact situations. That is why he likes to play a direct style by running straight at defenders with pace. His acceleration also makes him a threat on the counter.
The next standout attribute about Duranville lands here in the technical category. His ability to carry the ball is incredible. He has the technical ability to take on 3–4 players at once and creates chances just through this carrying. Once he gets to the final third, he builds on this carrying by having quality with both feet, able to put in good crosses regardless of which wing he’s playing on. He really operates very comfortably with his left weaker foot.
Duranville is a creative player with very good technical ability, 1vs1 short-dribbling skills, close ball control, fast direction shifts in possession. Therefore, he likes to attempt dribbles. Duranville is a skilful, powerful, and tricky dribbler who likes to use stepovers and body feints to beat his opponents.
Despite being a good dribbler, Duranville has a bit of a poor first touch. Duranville is sometimes over-eager to make his next move, resulting in a first touch that is poor at times. On the other hand, this character makes him a player who displays a natural technique to make fast decisions in tight spaces, is very strong in 1v1 situations, is unpredictable, and is confident in his skills.
He attempts to play slip passes through the lines also but struggles a bit more here and can struggle to create through his passing game. This is overall representative of his passing game, where he can be a bit overzealous and attempt ambitious passes rather than simply taking a first touch and retaining possession.
His ball-striking, finishing, and overall shooting are generally quite poor at the moment. He struggles to really make powerful, consistent contact with his shots, leaving them mostly non-threatening. He also seems to take pretty few shots at both the youth and the professional level, with most of his quality coming in his ability to create chances rather than finish them.
Overall, he is a player that always tries to find a vertical option in his game, so he is very capable of pushing his team forward to finishing positions. Additionally, he is extremely difficult to knock off the ball thanks to his low centre of gravity and excellent close control.
Duranville is a coach’s dream in his tactical attributes. He is hard-working in defensive situations and will rarely make a mistake due to a lack of effort. Pressing is a major strength of his when utilised in the system, as he uses his great closing speed. He does drop well into shape though and can read opposition attacks well, cutting off passing lanes effectively.
On the possession side, his runs and positioning aren’t very noteworthy, but he makes good runs often and does a good job at dropping deep to receive. He is creative with his off-the-ball movement and likes to find the best space to receive the ball with good timing. Duranville likes to vary his play by cutting inside, running to the by-line to cross, using half-spaces, and swapping wings.
He is able to dribble, cross, and make quick combinations with his teammates at top speed. His vision is still relatively immature and leaves room for improvement in selecting the correct moments and passes.
As mentioned before, Duranville has nothing if not his effort levels. He has the utter confidence in his ability to complete a take-on, regardless of the opposition, and this works massively in his favour. He is also an incredibly aggressive defender, although this at times leads to fouls being conceded rather than possession won.
His awareness will take more time to adapt to the professional game, but he is relatively aware of pressure on his back and his surroundings and is particularly good at being aware of his surroundings defensively.
His decision-making can be a bit rash and ambitious at times, but these things often take time to adapt in the professional game.
Duranville is obviously talented at taking on a defender, at a variety of levels including minutes against West Ham United. His ability to create chances will be something that requires harnessing as his decision-making still does hold him back, but he has the immediate raw skills to make a great player.
In terms of considering his potential, the athletic build that Duranville already possesses at his age means that he will almost immediately be able to collect minutes at the professional level, giving him the opportunity to adapt to the technical learning curve present in the pro game. This should do well for a skillset which has already demonstrated scalability at the professional level.
Improving things like his decision-making and adapting to the intensity of a higher league will make up the majority of his necessary improvements while filling out his frame further will also come naturally over time.