A fragile breeding ground
Paradoxically, La Roja may have needed him more at a somewhat later time, especially around 2015 and 2016 when the first rumors about his international future began to appear. Today, Luis Enrique can count on several defenders who are still quite young and who have a fairly bright future in front of them, like Pau Torres (24), who is coming out of a brilliant season with Villarreal and is announced in the biggest European clubs, or Mario Hermoso (25), part of Atlético de Madrid. Eric Garcia (20) is also considered a zaguero with overflowing potential.
But overall, it is still too little experienced compared to the other big countries of the Old Continent, where the coaches can field confirmed players, based more on their achievements and their current level than on their potential or their good performances on a or two seasons. Even if he is no longer really starting at Manchester City, Aymeric Laporte already has some experience that many do not have, especially in Champions League matches. Propelled to the highest level at a very early age, we can go so far as to say that on paper he is the Spanish defender offering the most guarantees behind Sergio Ramos.
Precisely, we will have to think about replacing the Andalusian, who has just celebrated his 35 years. Even if the two men have quite different profiles, it is Aymeric Laporte who seems to be called upon to take over from Merengue. At least, initially, until some of the defenders mentioned above can also claim this role of boss of the Iberian defense.
The post-Pique, for example, was difficult to manage, with coaches who failed to find an ideal accompanist for Sergio Ramos, since Íñigo Martínez for example never managed to be regular, the same for Diego Llorente, while players on whom many hopes had been founded like Marc Bartra have never managed to live up to the challenge, starting with their club. For Ramos, it should not be missed, and today Laporte is the ideal candidate.
A highly valued profile
If Spain has done everything to naturalize the native of Agen, it is because his profile fits perfectly with what La Roja and Spanish football in general are, or at least want to be. Thanks to his classes at the Athletic training center, Laporte has a very Spanish profile. The left-hander simply meets the main criterion expected of a central defender on the other side of the Pyrenees: an impeccable quality of recovery. Perhaps less good in duels than the French or Portuguese defenders – by magnifying the features – he has everything of a modern Spanish defender.
In addition to being brilliant on the ball, he has rather above average physical qualities. He is comfortable playing far from the area, both on possession streaks and defensive transitions, which is not negligible for a team that tends to play with a fairly high defensive line on field. He is a defender who knows how to anticipate and is generally well positioned, which makes him a perfect complement to Sergio Ramos, who is more into the duel and the clinch.
No real identity concerns
Among our Iberian neighbors, there are logically people who do not see the naturalization of a player with a good eye. The case of Diego Costa was very much debated at the time, for example. But for Aymeric Laporte, it is less pronounced. In particular because the Franco-Spanish defender arrived in Spain very early – Athletic had recruited him at 14 but he had to wait until he was 16 to join Bilbao – and that he has more or less always been part of the landscape Spanish football.
Like Lucas Hernandez, who had finally chosen to defend the colors of France, or Thiago Alcantara, who bet on Spain, he has more or less always been considered someone from the house in Spain. . The fact of having been trained at Athletic, a club with a strong local identity and usual supplier of players for the Spanish selection, also has a lot to do with it. The decision does not therefore cringe on the other side of the Pyrenees. It is also quite interesting to see that in the case of Gabriel Paulista, another “foreign” player expected to play with La Roja, opinions are much more mixed … No doubt that if the Federation insisted so much, it is is that she knew that public opinion would be quite favorable.