Former Lyon and France coach Gerard Houllier said Alexandre Lacazette can become “world class” after the 23-year-old striker was named Ligue 1’s Player of the Year.
Lacazette scored 27 goals in 33 league appearances this season – his breakthrough campaign after finally being entrusted to lead Lyon’s attack after a number of years playing on the wing.
Having led Hubert Fournier’s side to a second-place finish in Ligue 1 ahead of Saturday’s final matchday, Lacazette was named the French league’s best player on Sunday and Houllier is convinced it is just a step on the way to the top for the former Lyon academy player.
Houllier coached Lyon from 2005 to 2007.
“He’s top of the premier league in France, the Ligue 1, but he’s not international yet, and he knows that. But he can be world class,” Houllier told Ligue 1’s official website.
“I was told he’s a very dedicated professional. So if he looks after himself and if he does the right thing then he can become really top notch.”
Lacazette scored more goals in Ligue 1 this term than he had in his previous five seasons put together and he will be awarded the golden boot unless Marseille’s Andre-Pierre Gignac can score seven more goals than the Lyon forward this weekend.
Former Lyon striker Sonny Anderson said Lacazette always had that clinical nature.
Anderson played 110 league matches for Lyon between 1999 and 2003.
“He was already a good finisher before but as he was on the wing he couldn’t make so many runs through the middle,” the Brazilian said.
“His role was to cross the ball and protect the full-back.”
Anderson added: “I started following Alex when he was 16.
“I remember thinking he’ll go a long way. He was so good in front of goal.
“I was coaching Lyon’s attackers and Alexandre was the most talented. He could finish with his left foot, his right foot, he had a cool head and always made the right choice.”
With Bafetimbi Gomis (Swansea) and Jimmy Briand (Hannover) having left Lyon before this season, Fournier turned to Lacazette, Nabil Fekir and Clinton N’Jie in the forward third.
“I have taken a step forward this season,” Lacazette said.
“I’ve been given more responsibility. Certain experienced players left and everyone at the club showed faith in me and helped me to grow.”
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