Niko Kovač played a role in the development of France and Real Madrid midfielder Aurélien Tchouaméni (22). The now Wolfsburg head coach trained the Frenchman for 18 months during his time at AS Monaco and is now raving about the central-midfielder.
“The boy worked for that because he wanted to do more on and off the field in order to develop,” said Kovač. “He’s a great boy, a player who wanted to get better every day. He not only trained, but also asked: What can I do better? I’ve had the most conversations with him.”
Tchouaméni scored France’s opening goal against England on Saturday night as Didier Deschamps’ side booked their place in the World Cup semi-final following a 2-1 win.
Spanish side Real Madrid paid a reported €100m to sign Tchouaméni, a player that played 70 games across all competitions under Kovač, who added: “I’m part of his development,” said the Croatian. “I’m happy when players see that the hard work that has been invested is worth it.”
Speaking about his development as the six, Kovač added: “He’s someone who, as a young player, thought he had to do everything. Until he understood that he had to focus on his main job as a six. That’s why he was so expensive, that’s why he ended up at Real. He’s the best in his field, you can see that from the data.”
Tchouaméni (411 minutes) has played the most minutes for France at the World Cup, even more than Kylian Mbappé (388) and is creating quite the partnership alongside Adrien Rabiot – the Frenchman has also played in all but two of Real’s La Liga games this season.
France play Morocco on Wednesday 14 for a place in the World Cup final.
GGFN | Daniel Pinder