Lucas Hernandez is determined to prove his worth for both club and country as the Bayern Munich defender aims to hold off competition, including potentially from his own brother, to remain a regular for France.
Hernandez suffered knee and ankle injuries in his first year at Bayern, though he has by no means been a regular this season when available for head coach Hansi Flick.
The 25-year-old has made 17 Bundesliga appearances – 12 of which have been starts – and also eight outings in the Champions League, helping the German club reach the quarter-final stage in Europe.
He started at left-back for Les Bleus on Wednesday, the reigning world champions opening their qualifying campaign for Qatar 2022 with a 1-1 home draw against Ukraine.
“Yes, of course. I’m someone who always wants to play,” Hernandez – who joined Bayern from Atletico Madrid in June 2019 – told the media on Thursday.
“I was injured a lot last year but this year the injuries have left me alone. I played, I wanted to restore confidence to the club that bought me two years ago. There were times when I was frustrated, angry when I was on the bench.
“At Bayern, the competition is very strong. I had times when I played less, but I still have confidence in myself, I have always worked in training.
“There is also a lot of competition in the France team too, we are always in danger. It’s up to me to hang on.”
— OptaJean (@OptaJean) March 24, 2021
Hernandez was a reliable option for France boss Didier Deschamps in the successful World Cup campaign in Russia in 2018, though appreciates he cannot just take his place for granted.
Younger sibling Theo is one of those hoping to force his way in. The 23-year-old has yet to make his debut for the senior team but is excelling at Milan, contributing five goals and six assists this season.
He has created 45 chances in total in the 2020-21 campaign, putting him behind only Hakan Calhanoglu for Stefano Pioli’s squad. His tackle success rate, meanwhile, sits at 61.5 per cent.
“At the moment offensively, he is very strong,” Lucas said of Theo. “He has this confidence to take the ball and break through the lines easily. He is having a very good season.
“It was already the case last year; I hope that one day he can be here [with the France squad]. It is not for me to choose that. It is not my choice.
“In previous years, when he was at Real Madrid or Real Sociedad, he had a little more trouble. But since he has been in Milan, he is confident – and it shows in the stats, with assists and goals. He’s very offensive.
“He’s my brother, I have that family feeling. He’s a very good player, I like him a lot. I hope he can be here one day.”