Rennes (France) (AFP) – Coveted teenage Rennes midfielder Eduardo Camavinga should stay for “at least one more year” at the Ligue 1 club, according to manager Julien Stephan amid reported interest from Real Madrid.

“It would do him good to stay at least one more year at Rennes because he needs to back up what he’s done,” Stephan said in an interview with AFP.

“He’s in a place he knows well, he’s at a club that has enormous trust in him and he’s surrounded by people who know him perfectly.”

Camavinga, who was born in Angola to Congolese parents before moving to France as a toddler, made his Ligue 1 debut at the end of last season aged just 16 years and five months. 

Now 17, he has quickly established himself as a key player in a team that came third — the highest finish in club history — after a decision was taken last week to end the French season.

The France Under-21 international has repeatedly been linked with a move to Real Madrid in the Spanish media, but Stephan warned against joining one of Europe’s elite clubs prematurely.

“Next year he will have to back up his excellent performances he’s had this year. It will be the next step,” said Stephan.

“He has considerable potential but we know the difficulty of having a top-level career in sport at the highest level.

“He has to be allowed to grow, to flourish, and to above all have fun on the pitch because that’s his driving force.”