There couldn’t have been a better time for Jonathan Clauss to return to the club who once thought they weren’t ready for the tough game.
It’s been a long road but the 29-year-old Lens right-back has finally reached the top, getting his first taste of international football with the France national team over the past few days.
Clauss, whose sides travel to Strasbourg – the club that rejected him as a young player – in the French league on Sunday, made his first appearance for Les Bleus against Ivory Coast last week. He then started for the World Cup champions on Tuesday in a 5-0 loss to South Africa.
Both games served as preparation for the World Cup later this year and Clauss lived up to expectations, scoring points in the battle for the coveted places in the squad that will travel to Qatar. Especially since French coach Didier Deschamps now uses a 3-5-2 system with room for full-backs attacking from the flanks, a type of player embodied by Clauss.
It’s actually Clauss’ attacking profile that has caught the eye in the French Premier League this season.
His contribution to Lens’ attacking play was remarkable, with four goals and nine assists under coach Franck Haise, who used him as a right-back. Only Lionel Messi, Kylian Mbappé and Rennes midfielder Benjamin Bourigeaud have delivered more assists this season in the league.
With France, the product of the Strasbourg academy entered for a few minutes in the last moments of the friendly match against Côte d’Ivoire. He then delivered a well-rounded performance against South Africa, combining solid defensive play with sharp incursions down the flank and precise crosses.
Clauss will return to Strasbourg full of confidence after his first international experience. Born in the Alsatian city, Clauss was not retained by the club academy of his hometown after 10 years in the youth teams.
“When I was told I wasn’t going to be kept, it destroyed me at the time, but it also allowed me to pick myself up after a fall,” Clauss told the league website. French. “I was disappointed, but I was able to realize that if I wanted to continue playing football, I had to put fun first.” in a bouncing butcher shop. back with amateur teams. He spent several seasons in the German and French lower leagues before signing a first professional contract with second division club Quevilly-Rouen for the 2017-18 season.
He then joined German second division club Arminia Bielefeld before Lens offered him a contract in June 2020.
Only in his second season in the French top flight, Clauss has been a constant threat to opposing defenders, with a total of 29 shots and 58 assists that resulted in an effort on goal, in 28 appearances.
“He had a different background,” Haise told website Lensois.com after Clauss received his international call-up. ”He went through a lot of tough years where he needed a lot of resilience, stamina and to keep believing… He’s a magnificent role model for many players.” With nine matches to go in the league, eighth-place Lens can still hope for a European place next season and will rely on Clauss to deliver again. Strasbourg is in fifth place and is vying for a place in the Champions League.
Paris Saint-Germain, who are 12 points ahead of Marseille, host Lorient on Sunday. Marseille is in Saint-Etienne.
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