Meet the current stars of French football’s most successful side
When Manchester United play St Etienne at Old Trafford this week in the first leg of their Europa League Last 32 clash, they’ll be welcoming arguably the most successful side in French football’s history.
But it’s been a while – 36 years in fact – since Les Verts lifted a league trophy.
With so much history, it’s fair to say the current crop of players have it all to do if they’re to live up to the expectations of some of the older supporters of the club.
But who are their standout players, and are any taking Ligue 1 by storm right now?
Ladbrokes News takes a look at five key men Jose Mourinho will do well to keep quiet over the coming weeks, starting from the back…
The only exception to the above statement, Mourinho will hope the St Etienne goalkeeper is incredibly busy this week.
A groin injury has kept him out of action for almost two months, but the 30-year-old returned to the starting line-up against Lorient last weekend in a 4-0 win.
That was his 12th clean sheet of the season, and he’ll be playing behind a defence which has the second-best record in Ligue 1 right now, behind only Paris Saint-Germain.
Here’s a man United might know a thing or two about. Yep, brother of Paul, Florentin has been with St Etienne since 2013, making 55 first-team appearances for them since then.
But this looks to be his breakthrough campaign at the club, as he’s well on course to surpass his best ever appearances tally in a single season.
He’s also a threat going forward, too, as his goal against Angers showed earlier this season.
The powerful 6ft 2in centre-half won’t be fearing Zlatan Ibrahimovic’s presence either. He’ll certainly be relishing that physical battle.
The Aston Villa loanee is known to Manchester United, having played against them once last season for his parent club.
He’s missed just three games for St Etienne this season, and showed us what he’s capable of last weekend, scoring in the 4-0 rout over Lorient.
The Red Devils will be wise not to give away any sloppy fouls around the edge of the area, as the 23-year-old is developing a habit of causing danger to defenders with his deliveries.
Every team needs a grafter in the engine room, and in Selnaes, St Etienne have exactly that.
Arriving from his hometown club Rosenborg back in January 2016, the 22-year-old has played a major part in the side’s success this year.
While he’s far from being the most creative player in the division, the defensive-minded Norway international certainly gets himself about on the pitch.
While the likes of X and X are busy pressing on, Selnaes keeps things ticking over.
Oh, and he’s a Man United fan.
The 29-year-old forward has really upped his game this year, having netted as many league goals in 18 appearances as he managed in his previous 50 for St Etienne – including strikes against Lyon and Bordeaux.
His quick feet coupled with a ferocious shot and an ability to score from almost any angle make him a nightmare for defenders to play against.
And while he’s enjoyed plenty of time out wide rather than through the middle this year, he remains the club’s top scorer.
We’re expecting him to see plenty of the ball, and whoever plays on the left for United will have to be on their toes for the full 90 minutes if they’re to prevent him from impacting the game.
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