Ahead of Lille’s meeting with Monaco in the Coupe de France, Sebastien Corchia has hailed the potential of France team-mate Kylian Mbappe.
The 18-year-old striker has burst onto the scene in Ligue 1 of late, but he has been known to Corchia for many years as the full-back trained under his father at AS Bondy as a youngster. Last week, he joined up with the Lille defender in the France squad and featured against both Luxembourg and Spain, and it has come as little surprise to the 28-year-old.
“Kylian is a super talent and he has all the qualities to become a truly great player – and what an impact he has made this season!” Corchia told Goal.
“Kylian is really impressive. Last week I trained with him for a few days with the France squad, so I’ up to date on him, and I must say, that his development is fantastic.”
Corchia does not believe that improvement will stop either, thanks in part to the striker’s natural talents but also because of those advising him.
“He is a very intelligent player and he is surrounded by good people. That is a great plus, which can really make a big difference in a career. The surroundings, the entourage, of a football player are so important,” he added.
“I know his family well. His father was my coach when I was 13 years old at AS Bondy.
“Kylian was always following us at matches and tournaments, and I remember that he always had a ball with him. Already at that age it was easy to see that he had a great talent with the ball. Now everybody can see that.”
Indeed, Corchia even has pictorial evidence of the enthusiasm of the young Mbappe, who is pictured at the front of a squad shot wearing an Arsenal away kit.
Now the defender, who is out of contract in the summer of 2018 and has been tipped to leave Lille for a big side in the summer, is looking forward to the challenge of meeting Mbappe’s side in the Coupe de France on Tuesday.
LOSC have struggled in the league and he admits it would be a shock to upset the Ligue 1 leaders, but he remains hopeful.
“The cup is different,” he explained. “It is our chance to play more freely, since we have nothing to lose and everything to win in a game like this against Monaco. They have had a fantastic season whereas we can only surprise - and that is exactly what we intend to do.”
Lille, however, have moved away from relegation danger thanks to a four-game unbeaten run, with the weekend’s 1-0 win over Bastia probably sealing their place in the top flight next season.
“We found ourselves in a position where we suddenly had to tackle the pressure of a relegation battle,” he said. “I think we responded well to that unexpected challenge.
“The away win against Bastia was another important step forward, and as a defender I was happy to help securing another clean sheet.
“It was a good win for us, and in my opinion we showed great fighting spirit in our performance - like we have done recently, when we have finally been getting a better string of results.”
The Coupe de France is at the quarter-final stage, with the final slated for the Stade de France on May 27.