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Friday, 28 July 2017 13:58

Spotlight on Jordan Leborgne

Written by ClaretMatt

“We’ve got Leborgne, Jordan Leborgne.  We just don’t think you understand!” goes the chant on the terraces at Estádio D. Afonso Henriques and there’s a truth to it because, outside of this little corner of Portugal, people don’t understand the love this crowd has for the little Guadeloupean.

The subject of this hero worship began his career with Stade Malherbe Caen in France, having travelled to join their youth academy with fellow Guadeloupean and good friend Thomas Lemar.  Alas his career trajectory hasn’t quite lived up to that of his buddy.  Having made his breakthrough in 2015/16 injury hampered his opportunities in 2016/17 meaning his stock was low and he was available for a cut price transfer.

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Jordan Leborgne (Back row 2nd from the right) with buddy Thomas Lemar (Front row 2nd from the right) for Caen's youth team in 2013

Snapped up by ClaretMatt, who had been following him for a while, (at what was then Crystal Palace) for a paltry 5m PENce on the first day of the June transfer window the agile midfielder quickly made the right sided centre midfield berth his own and achieved cult status with the fans following some fine performances, trickery and important goals.  Indeed, with the departure of the high scoring Moussa Marega it is Leborgne who is currently Guimarães top scorer with 4.

Leborgne shows his great movement to score against Goat in this PS4 Prem League game

On the pitch the #13 is a key component to Guimarães unorthodox 4-4-2.  He is often the player that will drive his side up the pitch.  On the ball he is hard to ruffle, his great agility is complemented with a strength not common in midfielders with such technique and speed, which makes him a unique challenge for opposition defenders.  Not only can he turn them on a sixPENce but he can withstand a cheeky elbow or shoulder to stay on his feet and emerge with the ball.  A good passer he can pick out team mates well but it’s his attacking prowess which makes him key to his team’s style of play, always making intelligent runs or appearing at the right place at the right time to hit the ball home.

It was his goal against Mallorca that typified young Leborgne’s style of play on the day that his side ended the league leader’s 100% record.

Leborgne shows his grit and class to score against top of the table Mallorca

Collecting the ball on the edge of his own area he drove forward on the counter, drew in a midfielder before threading the ball through the eye of needle to a teammate and in the process taking the full force of a late sliding challenge from Nogueira.  Far from rolling around on the floor to milk the blatant foul for all it was worth Leborgne dusted himself off and bust a gut to reach the edge of the area where he drifted into space.  When the ball has headed clear he was right where he needed to be, chesting the ball under control he then shrugged off another vicious assault by Nogueira, this time a flying kick to the upper back, before hammering a volley into the top corner with this wrong foot.

The arrival of club record 64.4m PENce signing Gelson Martins at Guimarães means that Leborgne is facing stiff competition for his starting spot with Aleksandr Golovin also demanding a berth in the side but so far there is little sign that the cult figure will lose his place in the hearts of the fans or on the teamsheet.

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