The next Claude Makele in the making, young France international Yann M’Vila, helps promote France’s new lifestyle range with Nike Sportswear. Accompanied by a little biographical passage, the collection marks Nike’s focus on creating more lifestyle-based soccer offerings.
Included are the expected array of polos, track jackets and Nike’s ubiquitous M-65 military-inspired jacket. The passage can be seen below:
He’s already scored a goal for his country (Makelele failed to do that in 71 games) and isn’t a stranger to the creative side of things. “When I was young I used to play most of my games as a striker. I then began playing at No. 10 so I grew up being very offensive. Soon though, my game developed and as I got older I began to sit back and play a deeper role.”
Born in June 1990 in Amiens, a pretty town in Northern France, M’Vila had football in his blood. His father was a decent player, playing a good standard locally and the sons (M’Vila’s brother Yohan plays in France’s second tier) lived and breathed the game.
“Everyone in our family played football, we all grew up with it,” he says enthusiastically. “It’s in our DNA! Since the age of 3 I was playing the game with my father. He was playing a good standard and he was so keen to share his passion.”
At the tender age of 9, M’Vila joined his first professional club but turned down a contract when they refused to take on his brother. A quiet period followed before he was spotted in 2004 and snapped up by the prestigious football academy at Rennes. Much is now being made of M’Vila’s future but the man himself is quick to point out the importance of his past, even at the small clubs where he began.
“My first club wasn’t small,” he says with admirable pride. “It was a critical stage of my career. I progressed and developed there so much. By being outclassed by bigger kids, I learned to play fast and to play simple, two of the most essential attributes of my position on the field today.”
Within his now employer’s set up M’Vila blossomed into an integral part of the club’s fine young teams. “During my early years at the club, I learned a lot about football and about myself too. Controlling my energy is an example. This is one of the best places for young players who play in a disciplined role to learn their trade.”
The academy sides won several titles, getting the club and its players a fine reputation all over Europe, and in 2007, M’Vila signed his first pro contract at the club, making his debut in August 2009. Progress has been more than steady and it wasn’t long before clubs from England and Spain were casting their eye at an obvious talent.
M’Vila though hasn’t been in a rush. He appreciates what his club has given – and still gives – him. He also appreciates the league in which he plies his trade in. “The French league is very physical and geared toward quick, fast football. I like that as my game is about anticipating the action and passing as accurately and as quickly as possible.”
It sounds like he was made for England doesn’t it? “I do want to perform at as high a standard as possible and be as good a player as I can be. We all want to reach the highest level don’t we?”
Enticing words for coaches and their money men at clubs all over the country eager to take on a player who already has played at a high level with not only Champions League experience but international pedigree as well.
M’Vila has been a fixture in France’s national sides from the under-16′s up. He captained the under-19′s, and played for the under-21′s as a much talked about 19-year-old. There were many who felt that the much-maligned manager made a mistake naming the youngster in his preliminary 30-man squad for 2010 but not actually including him in the 23 that went to South Africa. Apparently he was 24 on the list.
Following a disappointing tournament, France are heading back in the right direction. With a new manager came new players and a fresh approach that is slowly beginning to pay dividends. M’Vila was an 8-year-old when France was unified by the World Cup win back in 1998 and looks certain to be a major part in any revival under manager Laurent Blanc.
The only player to start in all of Blanc’s first three matches in charge, M’Vila is – where ever he ends up playing his club future in the future – a fierce patriot hell-bent on getting his country to the top of international football’s tree once again. “The manager impresses me a lot and I feel totally involved in his project. For me, nothing is more important than Les Blues”.