It is becoming a trend each and every pre-season for Paris Saint-Germain. Players are keen to make an impression during the summer and give their coaches food for thought ahead of the new campaign. Well if you are the coach of PSG then you never have to worry because there is always one or two youngsters who take the bull by the horns.
In the summer of 2013 it was Hervin Ongenda and Kingsley Coman. Last year it was Jean-Christophe Bahebeck. But, the lad who has been the star of PSG’s pre-season thus far is 18-year-old Jean Kevin Augustin.
The club racked up a third consecutive win last night against Fiorentina. This was a 4-2 victory, the second of the International Champions Cup with plenty of positives to take. Zlatan Ibrahimovic played his first game whilst helping himself to a goal. Coach Laurent Blanc continues with the centre-back partnership of Serge Aurier and youngster Presnel Kimpembe as he did against Benfica. Gregory Van der Wiel whose future had been questioned showed the quality he still possesses with the assist for the first goal that was delightfully finished by Blaise Matuidi. Benjamin Stambouli made his debut. But, the biggest plaudits are for Augustin who bagged himself a brace which makes it five goals in three games for the Frenchman.
He has played as a central striker and more notably on the right-hand side of a three as he did last night. The lad has fantastic feet. This was epitomised with his goal against Benfica where he produced a delicate piece of skill to get away from his marker and was unfazed when up against an experienced pro in Luisao to finish with aplomb. His finishing is something to be applauded.
Ironically, although he netted two goals last night against the Serie A side, this was probably his more quieter outing in pre-season so far. He was not heavily involved as such but when presented with the opportunity to score, my word he took it. The first was one of pure composure to finish first time from a superb through ball from Matuidi and his second was another long ranger like his goal in Austria against Wiener. He has shown a variety of attributes that will no doubt have impressed his coach.
Of course, a pre-season for a youngster does not guarantee substantial competitive football for the forthcoming campaign. But, Augustin can be encouraged. Kingsley Coman’s antics during the pre-season of 2013 were well exhibited and he eventually earnt a move to Juventus. Ongenda went out on loan to gain first-team experience with Bastia (although it did not work out as well as he’d have hoped). Bahebeck has been a useful member of the squad although he would have liked more playing time; nevertheless, big Italian clubs are apparently assessing his situation. And at just 18 years of age, Augustin is gaining valuable experience and this pre-season will do him wonders!
Of course the likes of Ezequiel Lavezzi, Edinson Cavani, Javier Pastore and potentially Angel di Maria are all to come into the fray after the Copa America so it will be hard to foresee him breaking into the fold this season unless someone departs. Nevertheless, the club thinks very highly of him and will continue to nurture his development. He signed a pro contract earlier in the year which says it all.
The future is bright for Jean-Kevin Augustin.