Chris Mepham didn’t know which side was in front and which was behind. Much less right and left. Your own goal? It will be there somewhere. The Bournemouth FC defender cannot be blamed for losing his way when facing Jérémy Doku.
After Kyle Walker’s pass, Doku asked Mepham to dance on the right side of the penalty area in the 33rd minute, changed direction several times and gave Bernardo Silva a surgically precise pass, so that the Portuguese only had to slide to make it 2- 0.
Everything Doku faced against Bournemouth he turned into gold. “He was fantastic”, praised coach Pep Guardiola and added: “But it wasn’t the first time. Since he’s been with us, he’s always been fantastic”.
Pep Guardiola very impressed with Jérémy Doku
Doku passed the laurels to his teammates. “All the players are top-notch. In this team it’s very easy to find the right pass or the right moment to do something,” he said.
Documentary is Manchester City’s new attraction. The Belgian was signed from French Ligue 1 side Stade Rennes in the summer for €60 million, replacing Riyad Mahrez, who moved to Saudi Arabia. Guardiola remembers Doku’s arrival: “He was shy, almost amazed. But that’s completely normal when you arrive at a team as a young player who has just won a treble.”
He advised Doku to be himself. “I told him, ‘Just play, you can do it.’ He then surprised us all. It reads every action exactly as it should. There is his quality near the penalty area. It’s unbelievable how fast he is in the first five meters and how quickly he can change his pace. I am very impressed. “
Guardiola calls for competition between Doku and Grealish
At first glance, Doku, who trained at RSC Anderlecht, doesn’t necessarily fit into Pep’s younger concept. Especially in the triple season, Guardiola moved away from the fast, dribbling winger type of player to gain even more control in the center and thus highlight top scorer Erling Haaland.
But the documentary was completely convincing. In his nine Premier League games, he started seven times and played mainly on the left wing. Unfortunately for Jack Grealish. The Englishman, who was a starter last season, injured his thigh in the third game of the championship and only played sporadically after a forced two-game break. Grealish was twice on the bench for the full 90 minutes, and on some occasions that was only enough for short matches lasting no more than 13 minutes.
Guardiola openly criticized the competition. “I want Jack to be angry. And I want Jérémy to be angry if he hasn’t played two games. That’s the only way to maintain consistency at this level,” he said.
Documentary better than Neymar and Kylian Mbappé
A level with which Doku has recommended himself to the Rennes Skyblues in recent years. In the spring of 2021, at the age of 18, he told the Belgian newspaper “Het Laatste Nieuws”: “The last time I saw the statistics was that I was the best dribbler in Ligue 1. Not bad in a league with Neymar and Mbappé, right?”
In the 2022/23 season, he led Ligue 1 with 3.3 dribbles per game – with a success rate of 67 percent. He is at the top of Europe’s top 5 leagues, ahead of even Real Madrid’s Vinicius Jr.
Doku is not influenced by unsuccessful dribbles. “When I was young, I was told that I dribbled too much. But I didn’t listen. The only advice I can give to young dribblers: ‘Keep going, even if you don’t understand it right away. No,’ I don’t hide. It really depends on confidence. When I dribble , I know that in half of my attempts I will pass my opponent”, he said.
Doku leaves a lasting impression not only on Man City but also on the national team. After the 2-3 defeat to Belgium in October, Austria national coach Ralf Rangnick described Doku as a “fire rocket with two legs”.
Xaver Schlager could only explain Doku’s speed by saying that “he has a motorcycle under his feet. He feels three km/h faster than any of us. If we have a speed limit of 130, he is 140. He just pulls from the outside because he’s brutally fast. You can’t defend that.
Chris Mepham can tell you a few things about this too.