Friday, December 9, 2022

Dayot Upamecano: holder against Australia, why the defender does not reassure

Present in the axis of defense for the first match of the World Cup against Australia, the Bayern defender has a little revenge to take after a complicated debut for the France team. In the League of Nations during the last rally, the Bayern defender completely missed his matches and did not reassure at all. However, Dayot Upamecano receives the favors of Didier Deschamps despite the presence of William Saliba on the bench.

Asked by L’Equipe about his mixed start with the Blues, the defender is aware that he must make progress. “I had hard times and I had good times. I spoke a lot with Didier Deschamps, he gave me advice. I feel very good there. In the French team as at Bayern, there are world-class players, so it’s not a question of pressure at all. I feel liberated. I think it has to do with the fact that there are fewer benchmarks. It comes back to this what I was saying about adaptation. The last match, I had never played with Badiashile and Saliba for example. […] I am aware that I may have made mistakes. If tomorrow I am called up to the France team, I know that I will be there. I feel ready”

His journey in blue

Passed by all the categories from the U16 to the hopes, notably winning the Euro under 17 in 2015, Dayot Upamecano arrives in the French team shortly before his 22nd birthday. Well established in a club with Leipzig, he was called up by Didier Deschamps to play two Nations League matches against Sweden and Croatia. Holder from his first appearance against the Scandinavians on September 5, 2020, he scored his first goal in the second in the remake of the World Cup final against the checkered selection. A month later, he is again called upon to face Ukraine in a friendly. The rest of his story in blue is marked by numerous absences due to injury. Not retained to compete in the European Championship in 2021, he only returned to the selection in the fall, assisting from the bench in the victory against Belgium in the semi-finals of the League of Nations before playing a period against Spain in the final, contributing to the French title. The following month, he found a starting role in the qualifiers for the World Cup before another eclipse. Deschamps blames him for his inconstancy and expects more maturity from his defender.

Convinced by its outstanding performance with the Bayern Munich, where he holds a hinge with Lucas Hernandez, the coach gives him his chance in September in Denmark. A shipwreck for the native of Evreux who takes on water with his teammates. A disastrous performance without consequence since Deschamps chooses him to appear in his list of 25 for the World Cup in Qatar. A World Cup that he could experience as a holder after Kimpembe’s package, Deschamps believing that Lucas Hernandez is above all a left side. In balance with Konaté, Upamecano must prove his worth, to consider being one of the revelations of the tournament.

His potential for the World Cup

His playing career

Born in Evreux in Normandy, Dayot Upamecano studied in the region before finishing his training in Valenciennes, where he left at the age of 14. If he spent two years there, he would never evolve into a professional there, preferring exile in Austria. “One of the best choices of my life,” the player recently told Besoccer. So in July 2015, he joined RB Salzburg and joined Red Bull. Lent
for the season at Liefering in the Austrian D2 where he made his professional debut, he returned the following summer to the Austrian champion where he imposed himself without difficulty. After 6 solid months, he was sent to Germany in Leipzig to the football flagship of the company founded by Dietrich Mateschitz, for 10 million euros. Playing around ten games during the second half of the season, he was quick to achieve internal unanimity and won his starting stripes the following year. Unstoppable, he impresses all observers with his imposing physique, his roughness in duels and his speed. A modern and complete defender who is helping his club reach the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2020, in an edition modified by the Covid-19 pandemic (0-3 defeat, against Paris Saint-Germain of Kylian Mbappé, editor’s note). If he remains faithful to Leipzig for one more season, he ends up giving in to the sirens of Bayern Munich, who have just poached his former coach Julian Nagelsmann, who is full of praise for him. Under the orders of the young technician, Upamecano continues to progress and only needs one season to become an indisputable starter. “This year his development has been world-class. He’s very active in construction, comes up with very good solutions and has a good eye for dealing with depth. Defensively he’s good anyway,” the club recently admitted. Bavarian coach delighted with the progress of the one he has accompanied for three seasons. A starter in all of Bayern Munich’s matches this season, Upamecano has accumulated high-level performances and confidence. At 24, he is ready to take a new step.

For the little story…

Born in Evreux, Dayot Upamecano evolved within the same club as Ousmane Dembélé. Not the most gifted player of his generation, the defender nevertheless left the memory of a dominant player from the U14s and above all of an introverted and very respectful child. “He was a very good kid (…) When we organized snacks during the internships, he always cleaned up behind the others”, recalls his former coach Romain Bultel for Footnormand, who indicates that he played the young man as well in defense only in the middle and in attack to prevent him from getting bored. An adorable and kind boy who is often made fun of. Indeed, during his childhood, the international suffered from dyslexia and stuttering. “It was very difficult,” he told Le Parisien last year, explaining that the field had helped him overcome these “problems”. Moreover, if he was born in Normandy, Upamecano has Bissau-Guinean nationality and is actually called Dayotchanculle, the same first name as his great-grandfather, village chief on the island of Jeta Caio.

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