On the 25th of March, Lesley Chimuanya Ugochukwu made his debut for Rennes after he was substituted in the 89th minute in their 5-1 destruction of Dijon.
It was a night that went pretty straightforward for les Rennais, and after goals from Terrier, Tait, Nyamsi, and Grenier, it was only fair for coach David Linares to haul off Steven Nzonzi and give Ugochukwu his first taste of Ligue 1 action at 17 years of age.
The youngster went on to make two more appearances in the 2020/21 season.
Last season, Ugochukwu started shouldering more responsibilities for his side, especially after Real Madrid star Eduardo Camavinga. He racked up 23 appearances for Stade Rennais in all competitions.
This season, the 18-year-old has played three games, and at 18 years and 176 days, Ugochukwu is the fifth-youngest starter in the French top flight.
Ugochukwu was born in Rennes to Nigerian parents. He is the nephew of retired 14-cap Super Eagles defender Onyekachi Apam.
Apam spent most of his active years in the French League, playing for Nice and Stade Rennais. And like his uncle, Ugochukwu has kicked off his career in France- Stade Rennais.
Starting from the academy, the 18-year-old defensive midfielder has steadily risen from the junior ranks to the senior team.
Style of play
Standing at 6ft2′ Ugochukwu projects a towering figure in the center of the park. Trained as a Defensive midfielder, the French-born star could also be a makeshift center-back.
He is highly rated at Stade Rennais and is believed to be the ‘next big thing’ in the French top-flight.
Ugochukwu makes good use of his pace and physical strength. He is great at winning possession from opponents and also has a keen eye for goals and can sniff out opportunities.
At just 18, the Stade Rennais man has attracted interest from abroad, with Arsenal and Tottenham amongst his suitors. Nonetheless, he chose to remain with his French employers to continue his development.
Ugochukwu currently plays for the French Under-19s, and with his growth rate, he could be playing for Les Bleus soon.
Nonetheless, he is still very eligible to play for Nigeria because of his parents.