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After starring for France in the recent Toulon tournament, Kortrijk seem to have pulled a masterstroke in signing Joseph Montrose. Andrew Gibney gives us the lowdown on the newest acquisition for De Kerels. This piece first appeared on French Football Weekly, but I’ve added my two cents at the bottom.
Yesterday, it was revealed that young French forward Steeven Joseph-Monrose had signed for Belgian side K.V Kortijk. Monrose has recently just finished as top scorer of the 2011 Toulon Tournament and was very impressive throughout its duration so the move away from R.C Lens comes as a bit of a surprise to many and a huge disappointment to those looking forward to seeing him play in Ligue 2 next season.
With Lens’ relegation to Ligue 2 and the team turning more towards youth, it was very likely that Monrose would have gained some excellent playing time in a very competitive division. In Ligue, 1 Lens struggled to score goals Ismael Jemaa, Eduardo and Toifilou Maoulida failed to impress throughout the whole season so with a young exciting player on their books that can find the net and is full of confidence, Monrose could have been the man to fire Lens back to the top flight.
The move to Belgium has surprised a few people but it is a great signing for K.V Kortrijk. Finishing in 10th place last season Kortrijk have been quick to strengthen their squad for next season. Monrose becomes their sixth summer signing and maybe the ambition shown is something that attracted the youngster to their cause, and of course K.V Kortrijk will be playing in a top division next season.
Born in 1990 in the Paris suburb of Saint-Denis at the age of 12 he moved north and joined the youth set-up at R.C Lens. For the next six years he impressed the youth coaches with his technical ability and managed to score a few goals in the French lower divisions. It wasn’t far into the 2008 season when Jean-Guy Wallemme called him up for the first team. Unfortunately he only played another four games in two seasons and during the 2009-10 season he spent 6 months on loan at Chateauroux. Only one goal in eight games and he returned back to his parent club.
In the last four years he has also made his way through the French youth set-ups playing up through the Under 18’s up to the Under 20’s and this summer appearing for France in the Toulon Tournament. Five goals in the tournament sparked interest in the forward. Rumours of a possible pre-tournament deal with Kortrijk have emerged but whatever the case the Belgian side have themselves a very talented player.
There is no doubt the 20 year-old was the star man in Toulon kicking off the tournament with the second of France’s four goals against Mexico. Against China Monrose picked himself up a quality double, a diving header followed by a superb scissor kick were two of the best goals at Toulon. Monrose was rested for the draw against Hungary but was back in the semi-finals as his second half header was expertly placed past the Italian keeper and fired France into the final. In the finale Monrose picked up his fifth goal of the tournament, another fabulous header placed expertly under the crossbar. Unfortunately it wasn’t enough and France lost the tournament on penalties.
Apart from his goal scoring display Monrose showed some glimpses of real class. Adding to his tall powerfull was an ability to go past a man with his pace. Great off the ball movement, leaving space for the wingers to cut inside and exploit. He also showed he is willing to put in the hard work a loan frontman needs to give to help his team. Still in his early twenties Steeven has a long way to go in becoming a complete package but he has shown that when given the chance he can step up and deliver the performances needed.
There is no doubt that K.V Kortrijk have pulled off a massive transfer coup in sheer potential alone. Whether Lens are left to rue their decision to let him go remains to be seen. Monrose is certainly a name we will see again in France’s future.
TBW’s View – By the sounds of it, Kortrijk have done very well to jump the pre-tournament gun, and sign Joseph-Montrose. I won’t lie, I’ve never seen him play but I trust Mr Gibney’s view.
Kortrijk have overhauled their squad after a disappointing mid-table finish last year, never really hitting any form throughout the season. Sure, they overachieved in 2010 with a 5th place finish, but once you taste that, you want it back.
Hein Vanhaezebrouck has let some of Kortrijk’s best talent move to bigger clubs (Sven Kums and Davy De Beule to Holland for example) and needs to inject new blood into that side alongside players, and players like Joseph-Montrose fit that bill. The team isn’t exactly alone in the league, in terms of squad overhaul, and if they gel quickly, Kortrijk could be back amongst the top teams. As a sidenote, getting the world’s tallest player back, Kristof Van Hout is a great move too – the titan between the sticks.