Arriving in Lens in the summer of 2021, Kevin Danso quickly established himself as evidence and a safe bet in Franck Haise’s system. This Thursday night against the Blues, the Austrian has the opportunity to confirm his excellent start to the season. Trained as an attacker before gradually withdrawing onto the pitch, the center-back has always known how to adapt quickly.
In recent years, David Alaba must have felt a little lonely in an Austrian defense that is not known for its strength. From now on, the Real Madrid star will be able to count on one of the best defenders in Ligue 1: Kevin Danso. Le Lensois, who ruined his 24me Sailing on Monday, he is one of the main protagonists of Sang et Or’s excellent start to the season, along with Florian Sotoca and Brice Samba. Installed in the axis of Franck Haise’s three-man defense, the Austrian shines thanks to his physical qualities, but also to his ability to resuscitate. If we exclude the Parisians, he is the player in our league with the highest rate of successful passes (93%), while he is one of the ones who has tried the most. After Facundo Medina, his teammate, and Arthur Theate of Rennes, he is also the one who has gained the most meters towards the opposite goal with the ball at his feet (1.6 km). Landed in Augsburg in the summer of 2021, Danso has perfectly integrated the precepts of Franck Haise. “These are principles that were not the ones he knew, he needed a period of adaptation. He maintains his qualities while he assimilates these principles » explained the artesian technician last March.
Attacker, Email and Reading
This ability to learn is one of the strengths of the Voitsberg native in Austria. The truth is that he has only been playing central defense for five years. “When he came to us, he played center forward. For Kevin, position has never been an issue. He is the type of player who plays where the coach puts him. He probably would have played goalkeeper if he had helped the team.” testifies Manfred Zsak, his coach from the U-15 to the U-19. “We made him a midfielder because we thought he had the frame-by-frame profile. He started playing defense in his first season in U17, and he was very good! » , says Matthias Lust, his coach at the Augsburg U17s. With the young Austrians, only in Espoirs does he leave the midfield to settle in hinge.
“His brother wrote an email to the Austrian federation to bring Kevin to our attention. So I observed him and summoned him to the team. » manfred zsak
In the field, as in life, Danso has always had to adapt. She lived in Austria until she was six years old, then her parents decided to cross the Channel and go to Great Britain. New language, new culture. The Ghanaian-born teenager first played for Reading before joining MK Dons. This is the moment when Manfred Zsak met Manfred Zsak. Finally, rather the moment when Kevin’s brother allows Zsak to meet him. “His brother wrote an email to the Austrian federation to bring Kevin to our attention. I then observed him and called him to the team. , remembers the coach. Problem: He may have grown up speaking Lothar Matthäus’s language, he quickly forgot it in favor of Wayne Rooney’s. “He understood German, but he wasn’t used to speaking it, because he had grown up in England” Zsak explains. A slight concern when he flew to Germany and Augsburg in 2013. “I haven’t spoken a word of German in ten years, I have completely forgotten the language. First I had to relearn everything in Germany. But it’s slowly coming back! » still muttered in 2015 for the site. Laola1.
In a foxtrot…
Love at first sight in Bollaert
Despite this, his coaches at the time always saw in him the potential to become an excellent football player, regardless of position, especially as he was extremely rigorous. “He always had the mentality of becoming a professional footballer” Zsak details. After learning the skills from him in Augsburg, he started with the first team at 18 against Leipzig. In 2019, he was finally loaned out to Southampton, to evolve under compatriot Ralph Hasenhüttl. But his return to England goes awry. He only plays six Premier League games and hasn’t stepped on a pitch since January. “A psychologist helped me get out of those difficult moments in Southamptonentrusted him the athletic in June. I am very critical of myself and I am largely to blame for that. It was my first time in England in five years, I took the opportunity to spend a lot of time with my friends and certainly not enough to focus on football as I was able to in Germany. »
After a much more convincing assignment at Fortuna Düsseldorf, in the German second division, he ended up at Bollaert, where love at first sight awaited him. “I recently saw an interview with Paul Pogba, and he said that when you find a club where the coach and the fans support you, that means you can play freely as a footballer. That’s what I found in Lens. From the moment they contacted me, I felt it. I wanted to show them that they had done well to believe in me. , he described. Since then, despite some difficulties seen last August, the Austrian has returned the love we have for him and has established himself as one of Franck Haise’s basic men. Back in the national team last June after a little less than five years of absence, he could become the boss of the rearguard of the Rot-Weiss-Roten. And that will start by putting Kylian Mbappe in the pocket this Thursday night at the Stade de France.
By Leo Mob
ML and MZ comments collected by LT.