'Everyone is going to see how good he is' - Youan backs old pal Maolida to shine for Hibs

Elie helped sell Scotland to former 10 million Euro Hertha outcast
Youan is ready for tonight's visit of Rangers.Youan is ready for tonight's visit of Rangers.
Youan is ready for tonight's visit of Rangers.

When he looks at new arrival Myziane Maolida, Elie Youan sees more than just an old friend, amiable compatriot and former international team-mate. He sees a kindred spirit. Someone looking for an opportunity to resurrect his career.

When the Hertha Berlin attacker messaged Youan to ask his advice on joining Hibs, the winger had no hesitation in advising him to jump at the chance. Even if it means extra competition for a starting spot in Nick Montgomery’s ultra-fluid front four.

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“Myziane I know from the national team,” said former France Under-20 cap Youan. “We played there two or three years together so I know his quality.

‘I’m very happy to have him here at Hibs. He texted me before coming here and he asked me lots about the club. I told him it was the best place for him if he wants to play and improve. He needs that. He was struggling in Germany so it’s good for him to come here.

‘He asked some questions. He wanted to know about Hibernian. Now he is here - and everybody is going to see what he’s got.”

Picking up on Montgomery’s theory that Maolida will have something to prove after being relegated to Hertha’s B team in the German regional leagues, a mighty fall from grace for a former 10 million Euro player, Youan said: ‘Yes. I’ve been in that position back in the day, remember.

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“And I know when you find a place like Hibernian you just want to have pleasure in playing again, to be happy and improve yourself. I think it’s the best place for him.

“We played together with France from Under-18 through to Under-20. In that team was Moussa Diaby, Boubacar Kamara, Ibrahima Konate, Matteo Guendouzi — a lot of good players!”

Former Nantes prospect Youan was one of the Hibs first-team regulars who struggled to see off League Two strugglers Forfar in a brute of a Scottish Cup fourth-round tie at Station Park on Saturday. He insists, a little counter-intuitively, that facing Rangers at Easter Road tonight represents a far more straightforward proposition for Monty’s men.

“I think it is more difficult to play against Forfar because they are in the fourth league,” he argued. “So for me it is more difficult to play against Forfar than Rangers, because maybe you underestimate them, it’s a cup game as well so you never know what is going to happen.

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“So it’s easier to play against Rangers because, for a start, they are better than us, so we have nothing to lose. We just want to play the way we are used to playing.

“They are better than us with the ball, they are used to playing in the Champions League. But I think I am better against Rangers and Celtic because they are big teams and I love to play against these kinds of teams. I am excited to play this game.

“These are big emotions. In this kind of game you can show your strength and how good you are. This is what I do, this is why I want to play against these teams.

“I expect to show everybody who I am. You get more energy, it’s a big atmosphere and you want to show what you have got, the best of you.

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“You don’t have time to not be concentrated because it’s about small details. If you give them the space they will punish you, so you have to be concentrated from the start to the end.

“I don’t work especially on my concentration, it’s about the work we do at training, the approach to the game. The more I practice, the more concentrated I will be, that’s it.”

The arrival of Maolida and Emiliano Marcondes gives Montgomery extra options at the attacking end of the team, the manager speaking openly about the burden carried by Youan, Jair Tavares, Dylan Vente and – before he jetted off to star for the Socceroos at the Asian Cup – Martin Boyle. When all are fit and available, the competition for places in certain parts of Monty’s 4-4-2 is going to be intense.

“Of course I am ready,” said Youan. “I have not been waiting for them (the new signings) to come to bring competition, I compete every day. I am confident but I am humble. I will give the best of myself in training every day to show I deserve my place and to help the team as well.”

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