Has Evan Ndicka already mapped out his destiny? Betting abroad to open up at the highest levels is the choice made by the young French defender, just of age, when he arrived at Eintracht Frankfurt in 2018. An alleged professional orientation, which recalls the path of other promises of the tricolor. football instead of him. Because before him there is no shortage of successful models in the Bundesliga.
Since his generation of 99, Ibrahima Konaté and Dan-Axel Zagadou have pioneered Leipzig and Borussia Dortmund. One year more, Dayot Upamecano, also at Leipzig, joins this caste of young French defenders to whom the German championship has perfectly adapted. “I think it’s a championship made for us: there’s a lot of action, it’s box-to-box, tried to explain Evan Ndicka, in an interview with Ultimo Diez. We defenders, we like everything that is duel and relaunch. After that, in the Bundesliga it’s not always easy, you have to resist the shock. It is different from France. In terms of pace and intensity, it has nothing to do. “
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Bernard Diomède is undoubtedly the best to know how much the Ligue 2 – Bundesliga transition has benefited him. Then coach of France U17, he sees a real transformation at home. He knew the Auxerre athletic player, he found him completely transformed a few weeks after signing for Frankfurt. “At AJA he was considered an important player but when I found him after his arrival in Germany I didn’t recognize him. he says, still incredulous. It was already dry and in shapeit was double dry and double in shape (laughs) . He was sharp. ” Going abroad is obviously not innocent in this. Awareness is immediate.
A month without touching the ball in Frankfurt, the click
If he wants to win and play, he has to raise the bar. No longer just thinking about the ball but about everything that revolves around it. “He was determined in training, he gave more impact in duels when he was usually a rather tender player, explains Bernard Diomede. I asked him what happened. And with a smile, he told me he hadn’t touched the ball in a month. ” The transformation starts from there. It is physical but it is also psychological. From soft to hard, from introverted to more open: the change is total. Doing violence to himself has thus allowed him to get out of this comfort, long nourished by his structures.
Because in his training club, Auxerre, Evan Ndicka has always been one step ahead. “It was systematically outclassed by at least a year, confirms Jérémy Spender, his U17 and U19 coach, who had made him captain. We knew immediately that he was one of our players with very high potential. He exuded a lot of serenity, he had a maturity that we found in his game of him, but we fought so that he didn’t become confident. ” At that age, tranquility is never too far away. What is more with these qualities, very quickly praised from the side of the Auxerre training center.
Only seventeen games in Ligue 2
Insurance, clairvoyance, technical ease… Alongside his brother Harvey, also a defender but who despite his potential hasn’t made a career, Evan Ndicka does not go unnoticed. The promotions are linked. In reserve then with the pros. His first term in Ligue 2, on 27 January 2017 in Clermont, is also his first ever appearance. In a year and a half, he has played seventeen games for AJA and finished the 2017-2018 season on a high, with seven consecutive starts. The recruiters of Eintracht Frankfurt are already keeping an eye on him, the management then activates itself by paying six million euros to afford the talented left-handed.
While we always want our boys to evolve as long as possible in our first team, maybe it was the right time for him. He had been in the club since he was 14 and felt like he had done the trick. ” recontextualizes Jérémy Spender. Evan Ndicka then accepts the bet… and wins the bet!
His acclimatization was successful. She impresses her preparation without the ball. Adi Hütter releases him from the waiting room and immediately sends him to the fire. Central left starter, in three-man defense. Germany get to know him as he discovers the intensity of a first division championship. Just a month after his debut, he started the match against OM at the Vélodrome in the Europa League. Symbol of immediate mutual trust. ” He quickly adapted to the level and intensity, observes Spender again. Among the youngsters he already had an excellent background: short game, long game, a good recovery, an interesting passing quality… But when he switched to the professional, it wasn’t the qualities that were most evident to him. He quickly assimilated the constraints to be efficient. “
So much so that he no longer leaves a crumb on the table. A sign of his progress, he is now one of the Bundesliga defenders who wins the most duels, on the ground and in the air, and is one of those who travel the most kilometers in every match on the pitch. It’s already a reference to his post. And in a league like the Bundesliga, the promise is great. “The question mark with Evan is where is his limit? “, asks Jérémy Spender skillfully.
“A player who progresses is a player who plays”
The suit may have become too small for him in Frankfurt, with whom he will play a Europa League semi-final second leg against West Ham this Thursday night and will fuel hopes for a first European title. The promising French international, who arrived in 2018, was unable to honor the last year of his contract on the banks of the Main, reluctant for the moment to extend. There is no shortage of courtiers. Premier League and Ligue 1 clubs, including PSG, OM and Monaco, have apparently been checking his name for next season.
“A player who progresses is a player who plays”, slice Bernard Diomède, aware of the decisive nature of joining Eintracht Frankfurt in the summer of 2018. His first choice was the right one, it would be surprising if the second were not. “Whatever the project, the certainty is that it has to keep playing, Jérémy Spender abounds. He is a very smart guy. If we talk about him today, it is the fruit of his decision to join Frankfurt and his work. “
The quality of the French formation is the joy of the neighboring leagues. Now the question of his international future remains to be resolved for Evan Ndicka. Passed by all the French teams from U16 to U21, already an indication of his strong potential, he is still behind a selection between the A. And until he has one, the Franco-Cameroonian remains at the disposal of the Indomitable Lions, towards whom he would have shown little enthusiasm for the moment …