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Born in France to parents of Tunisian descent, Issam Ben Khémis first played for Stade olympique de Paris, before joining Union Sportive d’Ivry Football as a 14 year-old in 2010.
In November 2013, the midfielder was spotted by Ligue 1’s FC Lorient and, after impressing during a trial, signed for Les Merlus the following month, playing for the U-19(s) side.
Soon, Ben Khémis advanced to FC Lorient II’s roster, seeing him compete in the CFA2 (France’s fifth-tier). Here, the left-footer achieved promotion during the 2013-14 season.
Still, Ben Khémis had not yet signed professional terms, having to wait until May 2016.
The midfielder’s first-team debut came as a 20 year-old, during FC Lorient’s last game of the 2015/16 Ligue 1 season against Gazélac Ajaccio. Here, Ben Khémis was substituted on for the final 19 minutes, helping Les Merlus to record a 1:0 win.
The next season, the left-footer made a further two substitute appearances for FC Lorient in Ligue 1, featuring for a total of 25 minutes. Additionally, Ben Khémis played the full 90 minutes in a Coupe de la Ligue match away at Stade Rennais, although Les Merlus lost 3:2.
Furthermore, the 2016/17 campaign saw the midfielder make his international debut for Tunisia during a 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifier, where Ben Khémis’ side beat Guinea 2:0.
Nevertheless, the left-footer departed FC Lorient at the end of the season, following the expiration of his contract.
However, Ben Khémis was not a free-agent for long, as he signed for Sky Bet League 1 side Doncaster Rovers after impressing Darren Ferguson whilst on trial.
Strengths & Weaknesses
Ben Khémis is quite a technical player, possessing an eye for a pass and the ability to carve apart opposition defences.
Furthermore, the midfielder constantly asks for the ball to be given to him when his team is in possession, allowing the control of games to be retained.
Although technical players generally lack defensive attributes, Ben Khémis does not.
The left-footer works hard when his team is not in possession and is willing to tackle the opposition, ensuring that his teammates are not left exposed whilst defending in open-play.
However, Ben Khémis does lack aerial ability, leaving the midfielder particularly vulnerable when marking at opposition set-pieces. Additionally, Ben Khémis is not the strongest player and can sometimes be pushed off the ball, hindering the application of his technical skill-set.
Nevertheless, Ben Khémis is already well-equipped to play in the Sky Bet League 1 and has the potential to play at a higher level in the future, with the left-footer’s imperfections likely to improve as he gains experience playing in the EFL.
What They Say
Franck Haise – Coached Ben Khémis at Lorient
“He has a lot of game volume and is very generous in the effort.”
Darren Ferguson – Current Doncaster Manager
“He’s a player who doesn’t give the ball up and he’s got good balance.”