Midfielder Eduardo Camavinga opens up about his place in the bench at France and Real Madrid in an exclusive interview.
Super talent Eduardo Camavinga is still waiting for his first minutes of action at the 2022 World Cup for France. In the final group game against Tunisia, however, the 20-year-old can now start on the left flank.
In an exclusive interview with SPOX and GOAL the Real Madrid midfielder talks about his call-up, his status as a luxury substitute at the biggest club in the world and his versatility in midfield.
You are with France at the World Cup. Having mostly come off the bench at Real Madrid, were you surprised by your nomination?
Eduardo Camavinga: No, I wouldn’t say I was surprised, but I still had my doubts. I didn’t really know if I would be nominated, but I was optimistic. After some players dropped out, I got the opportunity. When my name came up on the list I was very happy.
Is the status as a substitute in the club stressful for you?
Camavinga: Certainly I would like to play every game. But there are some good people in front of me at Real Madrid. I can’t say I like it because sitting on the bench isn’t comfortable. But I have to be patient.
There’s a lot of talk about you performing better off the bench…
Camavinga: I have no real explanation for this. When I come in, I don’t necessarily have the time to think about what I’m going to do. I’m just doing my best to help the team. I certainly helped a lot last year as a substitute, I know that.
Which role do you feel most comfortable in?
Camavinga: I want to win a lot of balls, play forward, dribble, take risks and win duels.
Do you have a player in Madrid that you look up to?
Camavinga: I can play in multiple positions, so I draw inspiration from multiple players. Casemiro has won many duels on the defensive. Modric is also able to win both defensive and offensive tackles, he has a good vision of the game and also a good foot. Kroos is important to the game with his incredible passing quality.
Does the term ‘luxury replacement’ apply to you?
Camavinga: When you’re a footballer, you want to play every game. I don’t want to say that this is a problem now, but you have to be patient. I don’t want to have this status all my life. But you also have to admit that there are many people before me. I want to learn from them and then my time will come.
How to get out of this status? Is this about a more precise definition of a position?
Camavinga: Quite simply, through performances on the pitch that put me in the starting XI. Of course, being versatile is an advantage. Being versatile gives you more chances to play because you can play in multiple positions. There is one position I prefer…
Which one is it?
Camavinga: The six position in front of the defence. But of course I also have to adapt.
What else would you need to establish yourself in the sixth position?
Camavinga: I think I need to be more stable defensively and less bogged down.
Didier Deschamps spoke of your versatility. Is that a point that gives you hope of playing time during this World Cup?
Camavinga: As I said before, being versatile is an advantage as you have more chances to be on the pitch. If there’s a position that’s free, you can play there, so that’s an advantage. You have to be flexible in order to be able to take as much playing time with you as possible.
Did you have a conversation with the trainer to tell him your preferences? Or do you just take it as it comes?
Camavinga: No, I haven’t spoken to him yet and I’ll take whatever comes with me. You have to make yourself available to the team and I will play where the coach puts me.
Do you think the fact that you’re playing for a club as big as Real Madrid can help you in the face of high-tension games like the World Cup?
Camavinga: Our path in the Champions League consisted of complicated games with games that we won at the last minute. I think that can help me because I know you can’t give up when you’re behind. And that you can move mountains at any time, even if you’re still behind in the 90th minute. That was the lesson we learned on our way to the Champions League title last year.