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Getting To Know Javi Manquillo - Q&A With Marseille Fan Mo Ali

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With most of us just knowing Javier Manquillo as “that bloke Liverpool signed ages ago”, I had a wee chat with freelance writer Mo Ali - a Marseille fan - known for his work with @frenchftweekly and @goal_intl, to see what it is we’ve got our hands on.

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RR: So Javier Manquillo…what’s he all about?

MA: He’s quite versatile, and unlikely to let you down. Solid, if unspectacular.

RR: Last year we had DeAndre Yedlin on loan in that position. Decent going forward yet suspect defensively. Are we likely to see something similar?

MA: I think Manquillo is more defensive-minded than an attacking full-back like Yedlin. He was conservative in his play, but not prone to going ahead full-steam when it was merited. I think there were one or two occasions last season when he very nearly scored after running through the opposition defence!

RR: Why has he had a number of clubs at such a young age?

MA: He's had two clubs other than Atletico in his pro career, and these aren't exactly small clubs either. Both Liverpool and Marseille have very demanding fans and I think he's done well to progress his career there. Obviously with Atletico, Simeone has a lot of trust in Juanfran who is very important, so Manquillo is a logical casualty of that. It's a testament to his ability that important clubs are coming for him. Manquillo was unfortunate at Liverpool. I think Rodgers failed to utilise him in the correct way, instead opting for other players.

RR: He played a lot for Liverpool when he first went there, but by March time they terminated his loan. Has he grown at OM?

MA: He has grown a lot at Marseille, given that the season that has gone by was testing in every respect. But he proved himself to be capable in a fiery environment where everything else (manager, finances, ownership, fans) were descending into chaos.

RR: What are his weaknesses?

MA: He has a few weak points in that he can be caught out by strength. He's not your most imposing player. But his versatility (played tons at left back last year and was surprisingly solid) and decent pace make up for that.

RR: Will his game suit the Premier League more this time?

MA: I'm not sure if his game suits the Premier League, given that things did not go brilliantly at Liverpool. I do believe he is more suited to the Spanish, French and German leagues for example, given his skillset. But he is a capable young player with a lot to prove. Given Marseille are yet to adequately replace him, it's a wonder that the club aren't going for him.

RR: Finally…Steven Fletcher, great isn’t he?

MA: Well... Fletcher meant well, but was nowhere near the level required for OM. He did OK given the circumstances, and I hope the experience has benefited him. I definitely do believe more British players should play in France and elsewhere. It can only be good.