Jules Kounde played most of last season as a right-back for Barcelona, much against his desire.
The Frenchman did a neat job of covering the foreign position, but it has always been clear that it is not his preference. His fortunes, on that front, have turned this campaign.
Xavi Hernandez has counted on Kounde as a starting centre-back right from pre-season, thereby bringing him back to his niche position. Ronald Araujo, instead, operated at right-back in the early games.
Now, with Joao Cancelo aboard, the manager has a world-class right-back in his squad and it is clear that Kounde will service only in central defence.
Only half the problem solved
While Kounde may be free from full-back duties at the club level, Mundo Deportivo reveals that he still faces the same crisis with the French national team.
The Barcelona star is currently on duty with Les Blues for the upcoming Euro qualifiers. Ahead of the games, however, manager Didier Deschamps has made it clear that he sees Kounde only as a right-back.
“He (Pavard) knows, like Jules Koundé too, that when I call them to the national team it is to play as a right-back,” he said, speaking about the Barcelona defender’s role.
A bonafide starter
Despite the altered position, it is vital to note that Deschamps sees Kounde as a starting defender in the French national team.
The Barcelona star is expected to start later tonight against Ireland with William Saliba and Dayot Upamecano likely taking the central spots.
Needless to say, it is only deserving for the 24-year-old to be given such a prominent role in his National team setup. He has, after all, been Barcelona’s most valuable defender so far this campaign.