Recently named best player in the Bundesliga, Christopher Nkunku has again been called up to the French team for the Nations League matches in June. New proof of the progression of the player trained at PSG, who was able to count on his arrival in Leipzig in 2019 to fully exploit his abilities … even if it is not in the position he was thinking of.
35 goals for 20 assists in 51 games. Christopher Nkunku’s crazy season with RB Leipzig has exceeded all expectations. Leipzig’s top scorer in the Champions League and the German team’s top provider in the Bundesliga, Nkunku also won the young club’s first title at the bull with a German Cup against Freiburg. A high-flying exercise crowned by the title of best player in the Bundesliga and a summons to the French team in March 2022. Everything went quickly for the native of Lagny-sur-Marne, who was able to count on his meeting with Julian Nagelsmann, today at Bayern Munich, to take a new step but also discover a new position: striker. « When I left PSG, I wanted to play as a midfielder but when I arrived I did two or three training sessions with Nagelsmann and he said to me: ‘You are going to go a little higher’ because that I had the ability to eliminate and he saw it right away. »
Trained at PSG between 2010 and 2015 as a midfielder, Christopher Nkunku is a thousand miles from thinking when he will one day be at the forefront of the attack. It is also as a midfielder that Nkunku took his first steps in the professional world. « At PSG, I saw my career as a relay midfielder. I thought I would be decisive because I am a fairly attacking midfielder. But decisive like this season, no. When I was 17 at PSG, I didn’t think about it. not. » With the arrival of Jesse Marsch on the Leipzig bench, Nkunku climbs another rung on the pitch, which partly explains his flourishing statistics: « My positioning on the pitch was closer to the goal. I was more driven to finish the actions or be at the last pass. Mentally, I have passed a milestone. I am a little more killer. I am more focused on what I have to do.
A welcome physical development
If Christopher Nkunku has managed to adapt to his new role, much more offensive than with PSG, he has also grown physically, allowing him to combine physical strength and technicality on the field. During his years in Paris, Nkunku suffered from a morphological delay on the players of his age category. A deficiency that he had to fill by changing the way he played: « The solution was to be smarter, smarter and I relied on that on the pitch. I was able to develop my game. I I had the chance to develop my physical abilities and to be in the professional average. Today it is something that I assimilate, intelligence and my physical capacity: I make it my strength. »
Haloed by his new status within RB Leipzig and his growing reputation in Europe, Nkunku does not intend to stop on such a good path and is aiming for the next step. « I think I have no limit. We have goals in football, once I have acquired something I will look for something else. I still have a lot to give.”
Christopher Nkunku will have the opportunity to give even more during the next four matches of the Blues to which he is invited. After his first two appearances against Côte d’Ivoire and South Africa last March, he will probably have the opportunity to prove himself against Denmark (June 3), Croatia (June 6 and June 13) and Italy. Austria (June 10) during the League of Nations.