Sunday, October 1, 2023

Christophe Franken’s column: we care about our two greatest promises

When we look back, among the youngest, we see a lot of promise, but two boys stand out from the rest: Roméo Lavia (19 years old) and Julien Duranville (17). They have what it takes to become world-class players. Those who make a good team are very good. Like Kevin De Bruyne, Eden Hazard, Thibaut Courtois and Romelu Lukaku in the golden generation.

But Lavia and Duranville have yet to play a single game this season. And it’s not even because they have opted for a club that is too big, Chelsea and Dortmund, respectively. No, on the contrary, Mauricio Pochettino and Edin Terzic really want to be able to use them in a complicated sporting period, without looking at their identity document. It’s just that they’re hurt. Again.

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Four muscle injuries in one year for Duranville

Lavia receives a blow to the ankle. A twist in training. The date of his return has not yet been determined, which is never a good sign, even if at this point we are counting in weeks instead of months. After a preparation interrupted by his late transfer from Southampton to Chelsea, the midfielder lived a completely blank summer. Almost like last year when he missed 10 games between August and October due to another injury with the Saints.

Roméo Lavia signed a contract until 2030 at Chelsea but has not yet been able to play a minute. ©ChelseaFC

For his part, Duranville suffers a muscle tear. One more. The fourth in a year. Which is a lot in normal times and huge when you’re still a teenager. At this rate, the “fragile” label could quickly stick on his head. Dortmund, who bought him injured from Anderlecht, still have to find the right dose, the right formula, to use his exceptional explosiveness without straining his muscles too much.

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Doku, who also has a sprinter profile, is doing better on this side. He has also accumulated problems since the beginning of his professional career but the trend has been better in recent months. Because he learned to know his body and manage it, through specific exercises and an adequate diet. We hope Duranville can also learn the lessons from his time in the infirmary.

If these very young injuries worry us, we are not going to overshadow the panorama either. Lavia and Duranville are so popular at their club that they will quickly find themselves in the spotlight once they regain their form. Something very good for them, for their coach and for the Devils. In building the core for a Euro where we will be next summer, the prodigies will be applied if they are 100%. At least to discover the behind the scenes of a major tournament before dressing up for the national team in the coming years. But maybe even more.

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