Author of a very good season with AC Milan, Theo Hernandez remains hopeful of being called up by Didier Deschamps for the Euro. But in view of the competition for the left-back position, Lucas’s brother, who has no selection for the France team, seems to be starting from afar.
Until the list is announced, he will not let go of his phone. Even if he was never summoned by Didier Deschamps, Theo Hernandez (23) wants to believe it. He is convinced that he can be one of the twenty-six players that the coach of the Blues will take to the Euro, from June 11 to July 11. “I’m waiting for a call from the France team,” he said on Wednesday evening, after a new high-class performance during the box of AC Milan against Torino (7-0), in the league . If the hat-trick succeeded in a quarter of an hour by Ante Rebic marked the spirits, Hernandez was also pleased by scoring twice. First on a dry strike from the left, his specialty, then being at the start and the conclusion of a great collective action, with a small ball stung to finish. With coolness and elegance. Here he is now with eight goals scored in 43 games this season, in all competitions. Not to mention his seven assists.
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In constant progression
Impressive statistics for a left-back, even when you have the freedom that is his in the 4-2-3-1 dear to Stefano Pioli. After a very good first season in Italy, marked by seven achievements, he had to confirm and this is what he does brilliantly, to the point of impressing some big names passed by the Rossoneri. “In Europe, I don’t see a stronger full-back than him. Maybe I was more technical, but he’s a monster. If we had played at the same time, we would have alternated, with Paolo Maldini in addition “, confided about him the Brazilian Serginho in January in the columns of the Gazzetta dello Sport. Same admiration from Alexandre Pato’s side: “He’s driving me crazy. He’s somewhere between Cafu and Serginho.” In Italy, Hernandez reached a level and above all a remarkable consistency after his disappointing experience at Real Madrid, who bought him from Atlético in the summer of 2017, before loaning him to Real Sociedad and finally ceding him to Milan in 2019, for a little over 20 million euros.
Beyond his natural offensive qualities, he has passed a milestone in recent months on the defensive level, with reference matches in this area, such as against Naples (3-1) on November 22. And yet, his A-team selection counter remains stuck at zero. Blame it on fierce competition and the confidence given by Deschamps to his brother Lucas (Bayern Munich) for this position. It is a certainty, the world champion will be at the Euro. And Lucas Digne, in view of his successful season with Everton and his experience in the France team, seems the big favorite to take on the role of understudy. The only hope for Theo Hernandez: the enlargement of the lists to 26, UEFA having agreed to modify its regulations to allow the selections to mitigate any risk of contamination with the coronavirus and possible quarantine.
A small chance in the event of Mendy’s package
This could push Deschamps to select nine defenders, instead of the usual eight. As he had done in March for the start of qualifying for the 2022 World Cup. He then took the opportunity to retain five full-backs: Benjamin Pavard, Léo Dubois, Lucas Hernandez, Lucas Digne and Ferland Mendy. Problem: the latter was injured again. Victim of an inflammation of a tibia, the former Lyonnais could be absent for at least three weeks, which makes him uncertain for Real Madrid’s last games this season, and for the Euro. If Deschamps has any doubts about his physical condition, then Hernandez could stand a chance. Which would make sense for Paolo Maldini, legend of AC Milan and current technical director of the club. “I think he is programmed to play as a holder for the France team, he said in early January on beIN. He must want to be one of the three best defenders in the world.”
An analysis shared by Pioli, interviewed at the end of last year by L’Equipe: “He has enormous technical and physical qualities. He is a very offensive back because he has strength, a big shot, the sense of the decisive pass but also the timing to strike at the right time. He is looking to improve defensively, but he is already one of the best in Europe at his post (…) Am I surprised to his absence in the selection? Yes, but I will not interfere with the choices of Didier Deschamps. France has a lot of good players, it is not easy, but Theo is very keen on it and he works for it. ” He will know next Tuesday, around 8:20 p.m., if his dream comes true.