Two days before the round of 16 of the Coupe de France against Montpellier, this Friday at the Vélodrome (21h), Valentin Rongier presented himself at a press conference. The opportunity for the OM midfielder to talk about his new life as a right-back. By ruling out the possibility of competing with Benjamin Pavard in the France team.
From the midfield to the right lane. Valentin Rongier has gotten used to changing sectors since the start of the season with OM. The usual midfielder is more and more often aligned as a side, in a system with two or three central defenders. A new role that he takes on alternately with Pol Lirola, as he did during Marseille’s victory at Lens, last Saturday in Ligue 1 (0-2). What pushes him to work solo at the Commanderie to get his bearings?
“I’m conditioned for that now”
“I don’t work individually, we do it collectively, explained the player of 27 years, this Thursday, two days before Round of 16 of the Coupe de France against Montpellier. We’re working on the line, the coverage. You know the quality of William Saliba. Sometimes he covers me because I’ve only been playing in this position for a few months. But I don’t defend differently depending on the player I have in front of me. If there is a one-on-one, I will try to defend as intelligently as possible.”
With 21 appearances this season (all competitions combined), the number 21 is an essential element of the turnover initiated by Jorge Sampaoli. But does changing positions at his age sometimes fail him during a match? “No, I don’t forget that I’m on the right side, smiles Rongier. I think I’m sufficiently focused and then it became automatic. It’s something I work on in training, this n It’s not just on match day that I’m told I’m going to play on the side. I know it. I’m conditioned for it now. And I’ve adapted.”
“It’s not something I’m used to doing”
A successful adaptation that could make him want to test himself as a team de France, where the position of right side lacks suitors behind Benjamin Pavard. “No, frankly, I’m not a right side, slice the former Nantes player. I was not trained as such. And I don’t think I have the athletic qualities of a modern side, especially in the France team. , where the full-back takes the lane. We can see it clearly, I rarely do it with OM, because as soon as we have the ball, I try to position myself between the lines, or on the same line as Bouba ( Kamara) or Pape (Gueye) as a 6. So there it is, it’s not something I’m used to doing. Afterwards if the coach comes to see me and tells me that he would like me to take more the corridor, I’ll try to do it. But for the moment, no, it’s not on the agenda”.
By Alexandre Jaquin with F.Germain