Benjamin Pavard claims he is “more complete” than Liverpool man and fellow right-back Trent Alexander-Arnold – although that isn’t really his position at all.
Pavard rose to international prominence at the 2018 World Cup, at which he scored the goal of the tournament with a memorable half-volley after venturing forward from his right-back position. He subsequently earned a transfer from Stuttgart to Bayern Munich a year later.
The Frenchman has often played on the right-hand side of defence at club level since that move. However, he previously played as a centre-back at Stuttgart and has clarified that is his true position.
“My position is a central defender,” he told the French edition of Goal, in quotes translated via the Mirror. “It always has been.
“This is where I feel most comfortable, where I take the most pleasure.
“This is where I find myself the best. I think we see more of my qualities in this position. If the great coaches put me on the right side, it is because they have confidence in my abilities.”
While the overriding memory many will have of Pavard is what he did going forwards for France with that wonder goal, it is his defensive qualities that he believes set him apart.
The 25-year-old even namechecked Liverpool full-back Trent Alexander-Arnold in a comparison and said he has more to his game in his own third.
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“With [France coach Didier] Deschamps I have always been a holder,” he said. “If he trusts me it’s not for my beautiful eyes or my hair. He is aware of my qualities.
“After that I have to improve in certain areas; I have to take more risks, more initiatives. I am aware of this and I work on this on a daily basis.
“A defender must first defend well. On paper, Pavard may be less sexy than [Achraf] Hakimi, [Alexander-]Arnold, but I find that defensively I am more complete.”
Alexander-Arnold concerns raised
While Alexander-Arnold is one of the best full-backs in the world when it comes to his attacking contributions, some concerns have been raised about him defensively.
One former Liverpool star recently admitted that the right-hand side was an area opponents can exploit. Although, it is not entirely Alexander-Arnold’s fault.
“The opposition has been targeting the right side of Liverpool’s defence and they have been getting too much joy from that tactic,” John Aldridge told the Sunday World recently.
“AC Milan scored a couple of goals attacking that side of the Liverpool back four and the same happened with Brentford and then Manchester City last weekend.
“James Milner filled in for Trent against Manchester City in the last round of matches and did a decent job, but I wonder whether Klopp needs to look at tweaking his tactics to offer a little more protection on that side.
“This is not a criticism of Trent as he is a fantastic footballer, but maybe Klopp needs to look at the balance in his team to get the defensive side a little more stable.”