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Barcelona defender working extremely hard to improve in makeshift position

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Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

In his report for SPORT, journalist Jordi Gill has highlighted the dedication of Barcelona defender Jules Kounde, who has been putting in extra time after training to improve his skills as a right-back. 

The reporter has mentioned that Kounde is aiming to excel not only in defence but also in contributing to the team’s offence by providing assists.

Interestingly, Xavi appreciates Kounde’s dedication and professionalism as despite having the option to take recovery sessions, the defender often chooses to train intensively with the substitutes from the previous day’s match, demonstrating his commitment to improvement.

An unwilling transition that worked wonders

At the start of the season, Kounde expressed a preference for playing as a centre-back, a position he played in his first season at Barcelona. 

However, he struggled to accept his new role as a right-back initially. Over time, he adjusted his mindset and decided to focus on excelling in this position.

It must be noted that last summer, Kounde discussed his position preference with Xavi, who then allowed him to play as a centre-back for the first 20 days of the season. 

Jules Kounde has improved a lot as a right-back. (Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images)

However, the rise of Pau Cubarsí pushed Kounde to the wing, with the centre-back spots being filled by Ronald Araujo and, once recovered from injury, Inigo Martinez.

In the Champions League, against teams like Napoli and PSG, he was positioned as a right-back to mark key players such as Khvicha Kvaratskhelia and Kylian Mbappe and he did a commendable job.

Xavi appreciates Kounde 

Kounde’s commitment to improving as a right-back is evident as he stays after training to practice crossing into the box. 

He wants to be known not only for his defensive strength but also for his ability to assist in attacks. Xavi values his hard work and perfectionist attitude, noting that he often chooses to train harder instead of opting for recovery sessions.

At 25, Kounde sees significant potential for growth in this role. His successful transition to right-back is a relief for Barcelona’s future squad planning. 

With him and Hector Fort covering the position, finding a new full-back in the market is less urgent and if Joao Cancelo’s loan from Manchester City is extended, he could continue playing on the left, competing with Alejandro Balde.

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