Maxence Caqueret is yet another prodigious talent to come off the fertile Olympique Lyonnais production line. The French central midfielder is a local boy, who has been on the books of the club since the age of eleven and now looks set for a long career at the top level.
He progressed steadily through the ranks at Lyon before making his first team debut in a Coupe de France game away at FC Bourges in January 2019. He again featured briefly as a substitute in the next round versus Caen the following month before returning to the reserves for the remainder of the season.
2019-20 was to be his breakthrough season. He began the campaign with the reserves in the National 2 division before permanently joining the first team squad and making his first Ligue 1 appearance on the 30th of November in a 2-1 win away at Strasbourg. From that point on he never looked back, quickly cementing his place as a mainstay of the midfield and playing with a maturity beyond his tender years.
He ended the season playing in a Champions League semi-final against Bayern Munich, having been part of the team that knocked out Manchester City and Juventus as the competition resumed after the Covid-19 interruption. He also put in a fine performance in the Coupe de la Ligue final against Paris-Saint Germain and scored a penalty in the ultimately unsuccessful shoot-out after a goalless draw.
Recognised as a bright talent from a young age, Caqueret has been involved in the national team setup at every age group level since captaining the Under 16s, notching up almost 60 appearance in youth internationals. He has been to the UEFA U17, U19 and U21 Championships and the U17 World Cup and it’s surely only a matter of time until he receives his first call-up to the full France squad.
Caqueret is a versatile midfielder with the ability to play a defensive holding role snuffing out opposition attacks and shielding the defence or a more roving box-to-box role. He’s already tactically disciplined, positionally aware and intelligent on the ball. He reads the game well and is often perfectly placed to make a crucial tackle or interception.
He’s able to cover a lot of ground during a game and is capable of scoring the occasional goal, although that’s not one of the main strings to his bow. Technically he’s one of the most proficient players at the club, with near perfect mastery of the ball and flashes of skill that have seen him wriggle out of some seemingly impossible positions with the ball still under his spell.
His slicked back black hair and gaunt appearance make him look not unlike a young Stanley Matthews and, whilst not matching the Englishman in playing style, he does have a fleetness of foot to compare with the “wizard of the dribble”. Hopefully Lyon can hang on to him for a long time to come and build the team around him as they look to return to the glory years of the early twenty-first century.