Cheick Doucoure

Cheick Doucoure

Cheick Oumar Doucoure

Current Club: Crystal Palace.

Previous Clubs: Racing Lens, AS Real Bamako, JMG Bamako.

Loan Clubs: N/A.

International: Mali 12 caps.

Trophies Won: N/A.

The problem Doucoure has, like all players who play a similar role will have over the next few years, is that they are having to follow in the footsteps of the great N'Golo Kante. That comparison is something very few players can stand up to, if any. Doucoure does a very good job, as well as having been able to fill in at centre-back when needed, but as a central midfielder in a similar mould to Kante, he simply is not as good.

When compared to other current Premier League midfielders of a similar type, such as Caicedo, Doucoure is of a similar level, hard-working, mobile, quick into the challenge, but a little limited on the ball. His reading of the game and positional sense is very good, which is why he is able to perform a decent job as a centre-back, despite being under 6ft tall. His vision and range of passing are not great, he can keep play ticking over but you would not want to look to him to be the creative hub of the team.

While Doucoure can drive forward and play a free role in midfield, unlike Kante, who was at his best when just allowed to roam, Doucoure's better when he plays a more structured position and sits in front of the defence providing protection. Unlike his namesake at Everton, Abdoulaye Doucoure, Cheick is not at his best breaking into the box to attack the ball, in fact he seems to suffer a nosebleed a lot of the time when he gets forward and snatch at the ball.

It is not a lack of striking technique, as I have seen him hit some well-drilled shots from range, he has good technique. To me is seems like he lack composure and confidence in his ability to score goals, which is probably why he is better when sitting, rather than charging forward. I do have to point out that playing under Roy Hodgson it does mean that he will be prepared for the defensive aspects of the game, and drilled relentlessly in positioning, while having less time working on the attacking side of things.

That makes it very possible that, under a different coach with more emphasis in training on what to do when on the ball, he could become a much more rounded player with the ability to become more integral to the attack. With his mobility, good touch and aerial prowess, there is the potential there for him to play a similar role to Abdoulaye. Or to just play a more free role in midfield and get more involved in build up play than he is currently doing.

In fact that is what really stands out for me watching him, there is more to him than he is being allowed to show. The potential is there for him to offer more to the team, to drive forward and be a force in an attacking sense, but Doucoure has so far been very stifled by the team he is playing for and the way they play. It certainly feels like he needs a move for his own career to reach the next level, as he could be a very good long-term replacement for someone like Partey at Arsenal.

If the new man in charge, Glasner, can get Palace to get more of the ball, it could be a chance for Doucoure to prove he is ready for a step up. To be an Arsenal/Manchester City kind of sitting midfielder who can comfortably drop into defence when needed.

Requested by - mbd