Date of Birth: 12.07.1997 (19 years old)
Position : Central Defender
Country: France / Haiti
Value: 150.000 €
Contract Until: 30.06.2019
Height: 1.84 m
Jean-Kevin Duverne, a player from Lens youth team which has presented many important players such as Raphael Varane, Serge Aurier and Geoffrey Kondogbia to football, moved from Epinay to Lens U19 in 2010 and played in Lens youth teams. Finally he had taken part in Lens B for 2 years in Championnat de France Amateur, French 4. Division, before he started training with Lens’ first team in 2016/17 season. The fact that even though he had not performed impressive enough during his period with youth and amateur teams, his brilliant display after training with Lens at the beginning of the season was surprising is not something hidden by the manager Alain Casanova. On August 5th, he made his Lens debut against Tours after being substituted on and never handed the jersey back. He played for 90 minutes in remaining 15 games until the end of the season and became an essential piece for his team. Reaping the fruits of his successful performance, he made his first professional contract on Septembre 14th, 2016.
Considering France’s present squad depth in central defence and the quality of the players, it can be foreseen that Duverne, who has no experience with national youth teams, will be among the top-drawer centre-back candidates for U20 national team in the short term and for the national team in the long term.
Duverne, plays as a right central defender in the line-up with 4 defenders which Lens utilizes mostly during this season. Whereas his partner in central defence is more aggressive and has better tackling ability, Duverne waits in the wings for spaces his partner creates and shows more balanced performance.
Strengths (Fundamental, Passing, Agility, Challenges)
The first thing one must say about Jean-Kevine Duverne is that he is a modern defensive player who has a robust tactical discipline and plays wisely. Playing maturely for his age, Duverne has great anticipation skills and thanks to this gift he positions well before an attack becomes dangerous and attempts tackles. Albeit his age and limited first team experience, he is composed, confident with the ball and always calm. He tries to hold his position under any circumstances and even he sometimes fails to do so, he endeavors to intercept through balls by reading the game. While his partner with better aerial skills challenges for long and high balls from opponent goalkeeper or defenders, Duverne waits in the wings covering spaces and possesses the ball being lost by opponents quickly. Thanks to the harmony he reached with Abdoul Ba at the beginning of the season and later on with Dusan Cvetovic, conceding only 14 goals in 17 matches, Lens became one of the 4 least-conceding teams in Ligue 2.
Duverne, who has great ball control and desire to play correctly, can also dribble forward and make diagonal passes. As his team tries to play out of defence he acts a passing station , with 60.4 pass attempts per game, he is the central defender with most passing in Ligue 2 and his 89% success rate reflects that he is aware of the importance of keeping the possesion. Despite being able to make accurate long passes, the fact that in Lens’ formation which leans on building up the game from back, he choses short passing to his mates in near positions or to playmakers come closer to defensive line in order to receive the ball has a role in his high accuracy. In the game against Ajaccio on November 7th, 2016, his 91% success rate in 104 passes is an indication of the role he takes in playmaking. Besides, he sometimes utilizes his left foot, which cannot be considered weak, to play forward. In a team similar to Lens that builds up the game via short passes from the goalkeeper and keeps ball possesion around 60-65% no matter who the opponent is, Duverne’s technique and ability to play forward becomes a significant advantage.
Being not tall enough for a central-defender with his 1.84m height and thus arranging body coordination well, Duverne has a quick first step and high maximum speed. In spite of the fact that he does not go forward frequently in set pieces, when he goes for a set piece he makes recovery runs fast. In addition, Duverne, who uses his agility in possessing the lost balls and catching his opponent, also has a short reaction time. Thus, not becoming late in reacting to opponent counter attacks, he utilizes this ability with his agility and intercepts passes through defensive line successfully. Generally staying on his feet against the opponents and not going into a challenge that he does not expect to win, Duverne, with his ‘brusque’ characteristic, stays closer to his opponents in challenges and discourages them. He completes 70% of 13 challenges per game successfully. Thanks to his long and thin legs, he almost sticks to his opponent and completes tackles by extending his leg. He also has a good sense of timing in sliding tackles.
Weaknesses (Strength, One-on-ones, Aerial Duels)
He has a thin and skinny upper body as expected considering his age. Even though the fact that he does not have an imposing body as a central defender leaves a question mark over minds, considering his age and improving body attributes, he will go through this problem and get an ideal body shape with the help of required strength trainings.
As we mentioned before, Duverne can tackle his opponent succesfully when the opponent turns his back and can intercept through balls, nevertheless occasionally he might have troubles in timing of tackles especially in case of one-on-ones. Particularly in open space positions, even though he can catch his oppenent from behind, he may be muscled out by his opponent when he needs to encounter with the opponent.
It cannot be said that he is effective in air albeit his jumping ability is well. Moreover, albeit Lens has a short average height he, as a central defender, does not go into the opponent penalty area during set pieces and instead stays back. Besides being short as a central defender, his having a weak upper body clearly plays a role in such choice. It can be said that he is prone to play on the ground in view of his 3.5 air challenge attempts per game, however he needs to reflect his ambition in challenges to aerial duels as well in order to reach higher levels. Assuming that he will become stronger and taller, it is a duck soup for him to overcome the problems in aerial duels.
Similar Players: Raphael Varane, Laurent Koscielny
The player, he who has been associated with Raphael Varane since they both had grown up in Lens, also reminds of Varane considering his abilities. Although they differ in terms of strength and aerial abilities, they both have good ball control and also they resemble in their high self-esteems and visions. The fact that they are both agile and calm is also verifies the likening of two players. He also bears a resemblance to another French player Laurent Koscielny when it comes to his vision and technique however he is not agressive and effective enough in air compared to Koscielny.