Badiashile-Lafont, duel of young suitors in the Principality
Sunday, the Louis-II stadium will be the scene of a duel of neo-contenders for a place in Blue in Qatar: on the one hand the Monegasque defender Benoît Badiashile, 21, on the other, the Nantes goalkeeper Alban Lafont, 23 year.
A few weeks ago, neither Badiashile nor Lafont really thought they could compete in the World Cup. But their first summons to the France team during the last gathering of the Blues in September gives them hope, even if they are a recourse in the event of executive injuries.
“When you are selected for the last list before the World Cup, of course, you can have ambitions and hope to participate”, specifies Badiashile, whose Sylvain Ripoll, coach of the Hopes, appreciates “humility, reliability and determination”.
With 47 selections as a youngster (including 16 in hopes), he is not a revelation for the DTN. From an early age, he has been nurtured and solicited by the biggest clubs.
When Didier Deschamps made him start, he had known for a long time the strengths and weaknesses of the Monegasque, « specialist of the position » of left central defender. “But it doesn’t offend him to say that there are a number of injured people,” he said.
» Feet on the ground «
Badiashile took advantage of the absences of world champions Lucas Hernandez and Presnel Kimpembe. But his two selections (Austria and Denmark) showed that he could integrate the hierarchy behind them. And in front of Clément Lenglet.
From now on, « he must confirm with each match », insists Philippe Clement his coach in Monaco, who last March had a long meeting with the player to give him some guidelines in order to « gain consistency ».
“He worked hard, grew on different points, specifies the Belgian. But it is not finished. He must remain efficient, without thinking too much about the World Cup. It’s the coach’s choice. And when you’re French, you have the misfortune to have a lot of competition. »
His team-mate Guillermo Maripan knows he “will not stop working”. « He doesn’t think it happened, » he said. « He came back down to earth, trained well and is ready for the next few weeks, » insists Clement.
His opponent, the Nantes player Alban Lafont is also successful in club. It is even mainly thanks to his demonstrations that Nantes collected his first points in L1. Reassuring despite the hesitations of his defense, he only made one mistake.
“Be patient and efficient”
It was during the victorious reunion with Europe against Olympiakos (2-1). Lafont missed a corner exit and offered the equalizer to the Greeks. After confiding his bitterness on social networks, he got back in the saddle, to reach the Grail: a call in A, he who has accumulated 37 selections as a young person, including 14 in hopes.
Admittedly, he replaced Hugo Lloris, package. But Mike Maignan’s injury showed him that nothing was set in stone. Even if Alphonse Areola remains ahead of him and the return of Steve Mandanda may suggest that Deschamps still prefers the experience of Rennais to his youth.
“It’s up to me to wait, to work, explains Lafont. I know I can do it. We talk about putting ourselves in the hard and that concerns me too. I have to look for even more to take another step. »
He who would have seen himself leaving this summer in a club stamped C1 but who has not received an offer, remains “quiet”. “I try to put things into perspective, I am only 23 years old, he recalls. Of course, I have ambitions, I want to evolve immediately at the highest level, play the biggest competitions. But it doesn’t work like that. You have to work hard, be patient and above all perform well where you are”.
Both will have to be on Sunday, for this European opposition. As Lafont explains: “Now the hardest thing is to go back and stay as long as possible” in Blue.