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Soccer News of Wednesday, 7 September 2022

Source: soccernet.ng

Super Eagles eligible youngster wins top award in France

Folarin Balogun Folarin Balogun

Arsenal-owned forward Folarin Balogun has been named the winner of Ligue 1’s Best Young Player award for August.

Balogun only last month joined French side Reims from Arsenal on loan for the remainder of the season.

And with his expertise in front of goal, the 21-year-old striker has shown why the Gunners refused to include an obligation to buy in the contract that took him to Reims.

In a struggling Reims side with only one league win in six matches, Balogun has contributed six goals.

The Nigeria-eligible forward has five goals and one assist to sit joint-third on Ligue 1’s top goal scorer chart.

And the young attacker’s brilliance has been rewarded with a prestigious award.

Only recently, Balogun equalled Jacques Vergnes’ 1975 record becoming the first player to score in his first three Ligue 1 appearances.

Even Reims’ head coach Oscar Garcia has been stunned by how quickly the youngster has taken to the French first division.

“There was a question about his ability to adapt quickly to the team,” Garcia told the league’s official website.

“His integration was very fast and very easy. He is very happy to be here; he talks a lot, and he smiles.”

Garcia adds: “With (new signing Japan’s Junya) Ito and Balogun, we are better because they can make the difference.

“Balogun is a player who looks for depth, who is very smart in his calls, but who is also able to keep the ball. He smells like football. If he continues like this, he will become a very important player.”

Balogun, an England U21 international of Nigerian descent, has scored against all the teams he has faced in France except for Lyon.