In the absence of Benjamin André, suspended for accumulation of yellow cards, the Portuguese midfielder should take one of the two places in the midfield. Where he shone with Portugal during the last Euro, he who was elected best youngster of this competition in 2016.

As he regained his best level, the 24-year-old had a hell of a blow this summer. He interested big European teams, the first contacts were established, but an injury to the right knee in mid-August took him away from the field for almost two months and shattered his dreams of leaving. Those of his club, too, who hoped to make a good sum of a player in the ultimately marginal role in the league title last season.

This is the whole paradox of Renato Sanches. If his talent is indisputable, he is accompanied by a passion that sometimes penalizes his team on a tactical level and that his body does not always support. Since his arrival almost two and a half years ago, he has only accumulated 32 tenures and his few outstanding performances have been without a future. One of the most impressive, one evening in December 2019 against Montpellier (one goal, ten successful dribbles, eight balls recovered), had been made as a right winger.

A position which is not his but which he has learned to occupy in the North. And where he had started against Sevilla (0-0) last week, in the wake of a match in Clermont (1-0 loss) played almost as number 10. “To balance the team, you need synergy and , when we have versatile players like Renato, rather than depriving ourselves of a player, we modulate by modifying the positions, “Jocelyn Gourvennec explained to the press on Wednesday. “He can do everything and that’s what makes him such a great player. But he has to be physiologically, athletically and mentally well. He’s more ready to play indoors (in the axis, Editor’s note) only when he resumed, “added the Mastiffs coach.

Inside, that is to say as a relay medium, is the position that the Portuguese wants to occupy. A physically demanding role that his trainer decided not to entrust to him immediately. “He had a good week, he feels better athletically and it was seen in the last match,” said Gourvennec, whose team has temporarily left its rhythm of two matches per week and will therefore have the legs a little lighter. Those of Sanches, author of an inspired entry against Brest despite a disappointing result (1-1) on the last day, swarm with impatience. A player of temperament, a great competitor, he finds it hard not to be on the field.

“He tenses up as soon as we mention the fact that he is a holder or a replacement. It would be in his interest to consult someone who allows him to relax,” Christophe Galtier had judged in the columns of the newspaper L’Equipe. The former coach of Losc had resolved to prefer Boubakary Soumaré, who left for England this summer, during the final sprint to the title of champion. A choice that paid off at a time when everything was going well, far from today’s torments. Not very creative, the Losc is looking for strong men. And Renato Sanches has already proven that he can be a leader in the game.

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