Following his first call-up to the national team at the age of 29, Lens right-back Jonathan Clauss made his first start for Les Bleus last night in their friendly against South Africa. With the game being played at club rivals Lille’s stadium, hostile graffiti was found on his profile outside the ground ahead of the game. In the opening minutes of last night’s match, the Lens man was booed with every touch, however this did not continue past half-time, with the crowd becoming more docile. After the game, Didier Deschamps had his say on the issue.
“I wanted him to be the most at ease and the most relaxed. I find what happened in the first half regrettable. It goes against the French national team. It didn’t prevent him from playing. Throughout the match, those who stupidly protested with their boos reduced their impact thanks to what he did on the pitch. It’s to his credit. But with the boos, it should be a non-subject. It doesn’t belong in a stadium. That’s why I brought Jonathan out – I was sure that the whole stadium was going to welcome him. I can understand a rivalry between the clubs, the derbies. But I advocate unity with our players from different backgrounds. Those people are not supporters. Talking about it only gives it more relevance, of which it has none.”
The World Cup winning manager also had some words on the right-back’s performance, and what he could bring to the squad in the future. “It’s his first start. He’s not Kingsley (Coman). He does what he knows best. He has a lot of dynamism. He is capable of defending. He was frequently in a position to flood the opposition defence. He has a good technique. I didn’t want him to play with the brakes on, playing backwards passes. I would prefer him to do things with the ball. He responded well. Everyone did everything to make him at ease.”