Rennes is a club that I will always be grateful to. I remember arriving at Rennes and thinking it was going to be challenging moving to French city that is not as bustling as Amsterdam or London, but had more a feeling of a big friendly village where nearly everyone seemed to know each other.
We negotiated the deal and I thought I would be going home, but after I signed at the hotel I stayed over and started training the very next day. It was a very interesting time in my life. When I would go into the dressing room most of the guys would not be able to speak English and I could not speak French. I quickly bought one of those famous pocketbooks and I remember having that with me everywhere I went. I quickly got set up with a language teacher and I remember her teaching me things I would never use. Like asking”where is the doctor” or
learning how I would explain when I was sick.
I stopped my teacher and told her I have English speaking doctors at the club but not with me in my daily life, so I quickly needed her to teach me how to talk to my teammates and order food when I was out alone. I slowly started speaking French with the players and I remember most of them wanted to speak English to make their English better. They also laughed at the way I would speak French but I was determined. My two close friends at the club, Jaco Faty and Bruno Cheyrou started to speak less in English to me and I started to move forward quickly and about four months later I could hold my own.
Now the next chapter at the club started and it involved hanging out with the younger players more, and also because most of the guys in the team were interested in the Premier League they wanted to know what it was like. There was a real family feeling at the club and they quickly made you feel home and safe, and I started to see how they work with their young talents.
They would focus a lot on discipline, skill and speed in everything they would do. I sometimes couldn’t believe that they had so many great young talents and I would just watch and think how has a small team got so much talent. I was thinking why aren’t more big clubs looking at this great set up where they develop their own players and build motivation in them so that they want to get better every day.
You would see the young players hang around at the club after their training, watching us or practicing in small groups. I had not seen that anywhere else. I would often see a player working on their game alone or in a pair, but Rennes had groups of five players putting the extra work in to improve their game.
That is why I am not surprised that they found a new young talent called Eduardo Camavinga. He’s the 16-year-old wonder kid who played great against PSG to help Renned win 2-1 last weekend. This is midfielder that is comfortable on the ball with great technique and speed and has a good passing ability. It also helps being a left foot player because in my eyes they will always have something special because they make everything looks easy.
Camavinga set up the winning goal for Rennes and L’Equipe are already reporting that big clubs around Europe are interested in the Angola-born teenager. He became the youngest player to ever earn an assist in France’s top flight. Rennes have won both of their opening two games of the season and I hope they can keep up the good form this term.
If Camavinga works hard he could become a key player for Rennes and join the successful players to come out of their system, which includes the likes of Sylvain Wiltord, Yoann Gourcuff, Abdoulaye Doucoure and Ousmane Dembele. #mmlove