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  • By Alessandro Schiavone in Troyes

Andreas Bruus: Troyes' new Thomas Helveg who is born to play in the Premier League

Not even Andreas Bruus’ stunning first-half display could prevent Estac de Troyes from slipping to another reversal, their second in the opening two Ligue 1 weekends as Toulouse hit TROIS past the Stade l’Aube outfit to seal a 3-0 win.

But boy did the new arrival from Danish giants Brøndby make an impression. More of the same during the season and he could quickly end up on the radars of English clubs who love physical, audacious and pacy fullbacks.

Yesterday, Bruus' immaculate defending and inventiveness on the ball made a lot of people sit up and take notice inside the stadium.

Good at transitioning, he became a wing-back when Troyes were on the front-foot and an added defender in manager Bruno Irles’ 5-4-1 formation when Toulouse were dictating proceedings instead.

In the first 45 minutes he appeared practically unplayable, ripping into manager Philippe Montanier’s high defensive backline all while disrupting the flow of their attacks.

The 24-year-old has stamina, good strength, is a good crosser of the ball and provides an excellent attacking ouput to the point that Toulouse found it hard to deal with him. In fact, he bossed that right flank in the first 45 minutes. And there was no way, Toulouse would easily launch an attack from their left.

Thus for his nationality, grinta, defensive application and ability to combine with his teammates and overlap before pinging pinpoint crosses, he is reminiscent of former Denmark international Thomas Helveg who ticked the exact same boxes while playing for Udinese and AC Milan in Serie A two decades ago.

Yesterday, Bruus could have already racked up his first Ligue 1 assist when his delivery found Mama Samba Balde’s head, only for the Guinea international to squander a glorious opportunity by glancing wide.

Minutes later he made an impressive sliding tackle to take the ball away from Issiaga Sylla, after making up a few yards. That particular moment encapsulated his strength, stamina and tenacity. And his ability to pinpoint the upcoming threat even from afar.

But what really stood out about him is his ability to always serve the ball forward and play vertically. Opting for the easy option by passing it sideways or backwards doesn’t cross his mind and he seems to always have options on the ball.

The great Johan Cruijff once said that ‘Playing football is very simple but playing simple football is the hardest thing there is’. And Bruus plays the game simple but effectively. A cool, calm and collected right-back, he loves to combine with midfielders with a short pass. And when he gets it back, he then either looks up to pick out the striker from a long way out or overlaps prior to sending in a cross down the by-line.

Bruus has that ability to force an entire defence back with his directness. This is remindful of the great fullbacks who have played the game like Marcos Cafu, Paolo Maldini and Ashley Cole.

Not that he is or ever will get to their levels. Far from it. But his commitment levels are outstanding. He oozes confidence, demands the ball and loves to take the game to the opposition and attack the space. Just like the biggest legends of the game did. And the accuracy of his passing and crossing are two big reasons why Troyes decided to give him a platform in Ligue 1.

But obviously not the only ones. He is vocal and a young leader who is unafraid of barking out orders. But humble enough to take on instructions, as when veteran Adil Rami made a sign by urging him to go forward when he felt he was a bit too deep.

Bruus became passive after the hour-mark as Troyes initiated most of their desperate attacks either straight down the middle or from the left. The energy-sapping first period clearly took a lot out of him and maybe he still has to figure out how to manage his game for 90 minutes.

If you go full throttle straight from the off, then it’s natural to drop off later in the game.

Troyes leaked another two goals which the young Dane could hardly be blamed for before coming off with an injury in the 83rd minute.

Ligue 1 is a cut or two above the Danish Superliga but the energetic Bruus showed that he can hold his own and take the French top-flight in his stride.

He still has a lot of room for improvement physically and tactically, but one thing is sure: if he fulfils his potential it won't be long before he catches the attention from higher-ranked Ligue 1 clubs.

And who knows, even London clubs...


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