Jet-heeled Edouard relishing World Cup test

France will go into the FIFA U-17 World Cup Chile 2015 as one of the favourites after soaring to the European title in May, a triumph that owed much to the outstanding form of Odsonne Edouard. The Paris Saint-Germain forward rattled in a remarkable eight goals in five games during the UEFA European U-17 Championship, including a hat-trick in the final against Germany. No player in the tournament's history had ever pulled off such a prolific scoring streak.

"It surprised me a little, I wasn't expecting that," Edouard told FIFA.com. "I thought it was going to be more difficult." A straightforward choice as player of the tournament, the youngster demolished opposition defences in Bulgaria, and in doing so brought France their second continental title at U-17 level after the famous '1987 generation' of Karim Benzema, Samir Nasri, Jeremy Menez and Hatem Ben Arfa strode to victory in 2004. For Edouard, just six at the time, the thought of now continuing in the footsteps of Benzema is an alluring one. "I like his style of play, the quality of his technique, his vision, finishing ability and also his personality on and off the pitch," he said.

If anything, the PSG prospect – whose own strengths are his pace and coolness in front of goal – is further down the road to success than Benzema was at the same age. The Real Madrid striker managed just one goal in France's 2004 campaign and was denied the chance to parade his talents on the world stage, with the European finals serving as a World Cup qualifying tournament only in odd-numbered years. "You can't hope for better at my age than to be a European champion and take part in a World Cup," added Edouard, born in Kourou, French Guiana.

I don't let the pressure get to me. On the contrary, I love it.

Of course, it takes more than just an explosive start to build a successful sporting career over the long term. So many tests lie ahead, even for the most promising of 17-year-olds, and Edouard knows he must maintain focus if he hopes to thrive at a big club and one day become a senior international. "As with all my team-mates who won the EURO, the win helped me progress in the Paris Saint-Germain pecking order," he said. "When you win a competition like that, it changes your relationship with your club. Lots of my team-mates have signed professional contracts and joined the first team – I haven't turned pro yet, but I'm young still and I'm patient. It'll come."

'I love pressure' Needless to say, making the grade at a club like PSG is no easy task. With the Parc des Princes outfit able to pay huge sums to bring in stellar names from around the globe, the route to the first team is arduous for any youngsters waiting in the wings. Edouard plundered 35 goals in 30 matches for the youth team last season, but he is content to watch and listen to the experienced internationals he rubs shoulders with day to day. "Serge Aurier advises me a lot," he explained. "He tells me to always work hard, to never rely on talent alone and to never give up."

The Côte d'Ivoire defender's advice proved especially valuable when Edouard was showered with praise following his EURO goal feat. "What was difficult was that a lot of people and the media were waiting for me to slip up," he said. "But I don't let the pressure get to me. On the contrary, I love it." Indeed, on that front Edouard draws inspiration from another Madrid icon. "My idol is the Brazilian Ronaldo. For me, he's the best player of all time. I've watched a lot of videos of him and he impressed me with his technique, his dribbling ability and above all his knack for performing well in big games."

France now have big games of their own on the horizon, with their World Cup bid kicking off against New Zealand next Monday before they face fellow Group F rivals Syria and Paraguay. They will be Edouard's most important tests to date, and the teenage marksman hopes his electric pace can again make the difference as he looks to take another significant step in his career, all the while retaining the steely composure that ought to serve him well in the years ahead.