Lille’s Nicolas Pepe credits goalkeeping experience for goalscoring form

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The Cote d'Ivoire international who has developed into one of the fearsome attackers in the France revealed he only started between the sticks

Lille forward Nicolas Pepe has credited his impressive goalscoring form to his experience as a former goalkeeper.

The 23-year-old attacker is the fifth highest goalscorer in the Ligue 1 with eight goals and five assists from 14 appearances this season.

The former Angers player started his career with Solitaire Paris Est as a shot-stopper before he became a striker.

"I used to enjoy being a goalkeeper. I started playing there when I was little and kept going until I was 14. Sometimes I'd get bored because we used to win a lot, and I didn't have much to do,” Pepe told The Ligue 1 Show on beIN Sports .

“I knew I could be a good outfield player, and so did my mates - they used to tell me to play outfield, and that's how I realised I could be good.

"I understand a goalkeeper's movements now, and that really helps me when I'm shooting."

The 23-year-old is hoping to help Lille, who are fourth in the log, return to the Champions League at the end of the season.

"The fans had Champions League football not so long ago and they'd love to hear that music again, and so would we, " he continued.

"I'm trying to perform in every game, to score or to help the team to score.

"I used to be accused of inconsistency, so it's great for me and for the team that I'm managing to be decisive now on a regular basis."

The forward also explained how he has been learning from former Barcelona and Real Madrid stars Ronaldinho and Robinho and stated his admiration for five-time Ballon d'Or winner Lionel Messi.

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"I used to watch a lot of Ronaldinho videos, Robinho, dribblers. But I didn't have any idols. I had examples, guys like Messi who I really admire. I can't do what he does but I try to copy him.”

Pepe will hope to continue his impressive form when Lille host Olympique Lyon at Stade Pierre-Mauroy on Saturday.

 

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