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Sakho shoring up PSG rearguard

Published: Saturday 30 October 2010, 16.49CET
Having captained Paris Saint-Germain FC as a 17-year-old on his league debut three years ago Mamadou Sakho has caught the eye of France coach Laurent Blanc, who says: "I'm relying on him for the future." features's weekly wonderkid: Hachim Mastour
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Published: Saturday 30 October 2010, 16.49CET

Sakho shoring up PSG rearguard

Having captained Paris Saint-Germain FC as a 17-year-old on his league debut three years ago Mamadou Sakho has caught the eye of France coach Laurent Blanc, who says: "I'm relying on him for the future."

Name: Mamadou Sakho
Club: Paris Saint-Germain FC
Debut: 14 February 2007 v AEK Athens FC
Position: Centre-back
Nationality: French
Date of birth: 13/02/90

A mohican haircut means Sakho is always likely to stand out and he also has the distinction of being PSG's youngest ever captain after wearing the armband on his league debut − aged 17 − in October 2007. Though he had made more than 30 first-team appearances before last term, 2009/10 represented something of a breakthrough season for the left-sided defender, who joined PSG in 2002.

He played in 32 of his team's 38 Ligue 1 matches and lifted the French Cup after a 1-0 victory against AS Monaco FC at the Stade de France in May. Even better was to come at the beginning of 2010/11, however, the pacy and assertive 20-year-old receiving his first call-up to the senior France squad for August's friendly in Norway.

Though he did not feature in that match, Sakho has yet to miss a minute of his side's league campaign and prior to last week's 1-1 draw with Borussia Dortmund had been part of a back four which had kept seven successive clean sheets in all competitions. PSG coach Antoine Kombouaré, himself an acclaimed former centre-back for the capital club, has been impressed enough to hand Sakho the vice captaincy of his hometown team this season behind the vastly experienced Claude Makelele.

Breakthrough game
Valenciennes FC 0-0 Paris Saint-Germain FC
20 October 2007, Ligue 1

Then coach Paul Le Guen sprang something of a surprise when he named Sakho as captain on his Ligue 1 debut. Being the leader of a team perennially under the media spotlight in France could have been potentially harmful but Sakho gave a glimpse of what was to come by helping PSG to a clean sheet with an assured display.

He says:
"I was surprised to be named captain; it was too much. I felt uncomfortable and embarrassed but what should I have done − not take the armband? The armband, you don't refuse that. Too much was made of that. Since then I try not to speak to the press too much."

They say:
"The vice-captain role will help him develop. It may help fix some of the weaknesses in his game and in his character."
Antoine Kombouaré, PSG coach

"Sakho is interesting because he is young, left-sided and has potential. He might not be ready for international level but I'm relying on him for the future."
Laurent Blanc, France coach

Mamadou is a great defender. He's very keen and shows great character, he has the skills to improve a lot. He will be one of the great French defenders in the future. He's very charismatic. He has the skills to be a great captain.
Pedro Pauleta, former PSG striker

Last updated: 04/01/11 7.06CET

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