Nicolas Jackson: discovering the one they call “Neymar” in Senegal by Harold Monteiro Macedo
Senegal is a country with a lot of talents at several positions. Most of them are from Diambars which is affiliated to Olympique de Marseille, Generation Foot to FC Metz and Olympique Lyon with AS Pikine. But Nicolas Jackson is a different case and a special talent with a lot of potential.
He was born on June 20, 2001 in Banju, Gambia but he is Senegalese too and chose to play for the Lions.
He is an attacking midfielder who can also play one both right and left wing and as a striker. He is very good on the ball, good at dribbling and passing. He likes to carry the ball to create danger and create chances for his teammates. But he lacks finishing and dribbles too much at moments. He is fast and good in aerial duels too.
He started his pro career in Senegal Ligue 1 at Casa Sports during the 2018/19 season. He received his first call-up with Senegal U20 on November 15, 2019. One day later he was named man of the match in a 1-1 draw against AS Pikine.
Youssouph Dabo, Senegal U20 coach who called-up Jackson, said “He is a good profile with technical qualities who also tends to put on a show”.
After a good season with Casa Sports he signed for Villarreal at the very end of the 2019 summer mercato.
He started with the Juvenil A team and impressed a lot. He had 7 assists before the Covid break. His team won the Championship at the end of the season.
For the 2020/21 season he was sent on loan to CD Mirandes from LaLiga SmartBank. He only played 17 games [7 starts] because he suffered from injuries but the coach kept confidence in him. Jackson scored 1 goal and provided 1 assist with 1.2 [63%] successful dribbles per game in 724 minutes. He showed how interesting young player to follow he is.
For the 2021/22 season, he is a Villarreal B player but trains with the first-team. He made his debut against Real Betis on October 3, 2021. He started in the Copa del Rey 1/16 during the 2-1 defeat at Sporting Gijon. He also has some minutes in LaLiga against Atletico and Elche. But his most convicted game so far is when he played 23 minutes vs Mallorca. He won a penalty and showed how good he is on the ball:
Unai Emery, Villarreal coach :
“Nicolas Jackson is doing a very good job with the B team. He is a player with an interesting style of play. We will see how we can help him and what he can bring to us. He can play in different attacking positions.”
Now that he is free of injuries it is up to him to earn his place in the first team and show the extent of his talent. He has a lot of room for improvement and could well be one of the next stars of Senegal. His progress is to be followed.