Moussa Dembele setting Fulham alight

Jamie McDonald

A hat trick in his latest outing shows just how far the young Frenchman has come since joining in the summer

It's likely that, for quite some time, Fulham's Moussa Dembele won't be shaking off the shadow of his namesake, now at Tottenham Hotspur. The older Dembele left an indelible mark in SW6 and he's doing more of the same in North London.

But, for what it's worth, Dembele mark two is establishing himself as something of a stand out player in Fulham's Under 18 squad, his latest exploits including a hat trick against Reading.

The first was well placed, showing precision that took it beyond a sprawling goalkeeper. The second was a thunderous effort as he slapped in a volley from outside the area after Reading couldn't clear their lines. Dembele's third, though less dramatic, was slotted home neatly from a Dean O'Halloran cross. It leaves Fulham as the only side to win all of their games in the Phase Two Elite Group.

And, though it is, of course, a team game, Dembele very much has shown himself to be a focal point to the side's recent successes. He plays, quite simply, with maturity and talent beyond his years.

Despite only being 16 years of age, first team players have openly admitted that, in terms of flair, the young Frenchman is by far the most technically proficient. Skill, unfortunately, doesn't get you everywhere in football but it's a good place to start.

He finishes well too, a vital attribute to anyone plying their trade in the front three. His pace causes unimaginable problems to opposition defences and, although he only measures 5ft 11in in height, he has a physical presence that, again, belies his age.

By no means is Dembele the complete package, understandably. Yet, he has progressed at a rate that even the most optimistic academy coaches could not have expected. He was a considered coup when he arrived from Paris St Germain last summer and with every week that passes, he's looking every bit the worthwhile investment.

So much so that, surely, before long, a first team call will be beckoning.

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