World Cup: Aurélien Tchouaméni, the new man in the middle

With the absences of Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté, the Real Madrid player will be propelled to the front of the stage in the France team.

By Adrian Mathieu

At 22 and with only 14 caps on the clock, Aurélien Tchouaméni will have the heavy task of making up for the absence of Pogba and Kanté in midfield.

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IHe was probably not destined to start so early in the France team, but injuries have changed the situation: Aurélien Tchouaméni will have the heavy task of succeeding Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kanté as the new midfield leader of the Blues during this 2022 World Cup in Qatar.

A status that is not easy to assume, especially when you know the importance of this duo in the recent history of the Blues: when these two started a match in selection, it’s simple, the Blues never lost. But with his limitless rise, from the Girondins de Bordeaux to Real Madrid via AS Monaco, the young 22-year-old midfielder already seems cut out to cope with this pressure.

Already started at Real Madrid

For Philippe Lucas, one of his trainers in Bordeaux, the price dimension by Tchouaméni is not surprising. “For a young player, you have to proceed step by step and Aurélien did it very well. Even if he didn’t really have his chance here at the Girondins, he followed the right course by going to Monaco before a very big club. At Real, he shows all his qualities, even if he is still under the sole. It’s always difficult to predict a perfect start to his career with hazards and injuries, but he has always had his head on his shoulders, he is very well surrounded, “he confides to the Indicate.

But if his first steps at Real Madrid, where he took the place of Casemiro who left for Manchester, have convinced observers, playing a World Cup in the shoes of a holder is a completely different challenge. In search of a new backbone to accompany Lloris, Varane, Griezmann, Didier Deschamps relies heavily on the former Monegasque. “He is a complete player, beaming with his club. He was with us too […] Admittedly, he does not have the experience that Pogba and Kanté may have, but potentially… he is there. In his head, he has the necessary maturity. It’s good, but it’s not the only one. He is young, it forces the oldest not to rest on their laurels, ”explained the coach last May.

While a new tactical scheme is looming for the Blues in this competition, Aurélien Tchouaméni will quickly have to offer guarantees. From the start of the match against Australia next Tuesday (5 p.m.), his performances will be closely scrutinized. Philippe Lucas is in any case optimistic about his former player: “He is still a young player, he will be spied on and exposed, but there is no better showcase than the World Cup. Even if the last results of the Blues were not good, he always showed something. All these matches, and those of Real in the Champions League, will serve him to better respond to this competition. This new status does not frighten him, he will be able to take his responsibilities at the appropriate time. »

A relentless statistics and performance

The person concerned is interested in any case this Mondial without particular stress, as he indicated Thursday at a press conference. “Boss or no boss doesn’t mean anything. The pressure, I know it since I was very young and even more at Real. Frankly, this position in the France team, I approach it with enthusiasm and desire, but no pressure. »

It must be said that with his very serene personality, Aurélien Tchouaméni has already shown signs of maturity that clash in the world of football. From there to already being a leader in selection? In any case, his former carriage at the Girondins believes in it. “He quickly grew through his position and the faculties he demonstrates. He takes everyone with him. He was someone very appreciated by his friends in the locker room, he was unanimous about him, he was calm and posed no problem. No matter how hard we looked for the little beast with him, we couldn’t find anything. Passionate about statistics and performance, drawing inspiration in particular from the NBA, Tchouaméni dissects, searches and takes into account the slightest data that he could improve on the field.

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But if the presentation is complimentary, the number 8 of the Blues can still perfect the picture, especially in the offensive field. “Being more decisive in strikes and giving more assists is obviously important in modern football, recalls Philippe Lucas. But we are not going to ask everything from him, that he be good in recovery is the priority today: France leaves with a lack of balance and he will be precious to compensate for that. “Shadow work, tackles, pressing and many efforts in perspective: Tchouaméni seems ready to take up the greatest challenge of his young career.

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