At 21-years-old, he is a player on the brink of glorious fame, a young talent so sought after that when he does give the green light to leave France, he will spark a transfer stampede akin to an opening of a summer sale.
But despite all that glory to come, as we talk about his life in football to date, Yann M’Vila winces at how once he struggled to take on bigger, more athletic boys. “There was a time, when I played youth football that I was constantly outclassed,” he admits. “I was playing with older kids though who were far more physically developed than me so that was to be expected maybe.”
Don’t expect it to happen any more though. M’Vila isn’t in the mood to be pushed around these days. Watch him play and you’ll see the modern midfielder in the making. Yes he tackles, and breaks down opposing attacks but not always with a crunching tackle. He nicks the ball in vital areas, releasing his team to counter-attack. He picks a pass, both long and short and he isn’t afraid to put his engine in gear and get up to support the attack.
He does of course hail from a country where the holding midfielder is held in the highest of regards. Claude Makelele’s name is synonymous with the position and whilst M’Vila would be more than proud to be spoken alongside the man who helped his nation to win the lot at the turn of the century, expect more in terms of offensive dynamism.