French journalist Julien Laurens has criticised Barcelona defender Jules Kounde, claiming that the Frenchman has not played well for his club or country.
The £50m summer signing from Sevilla arrived with a lot of hype, but has mostly played at right-back rather than his natural position at centre-back, and attracted criticism during the World Cup for playing whilst wearing a chain for 20 minutes as France beat Poland.
While Barcelona are top of La Liga, they dropped down to the Europa League for the second year running after finishing third in their Champions League group, with their huge summer transfer window not paying off so far.
Speaking to TalkSport, Laurens claimed that the defender represents a weak spot in the France team at the World Cup given his poor form and the fact he is playing out of position.
He said: “For Kounde at right-back, he is untested, this is not his best position because he is a centre-back, really, and he hasn’t been playing well.
“The necklace story the other night… since we’ve been playing football when we were kids, everybody [said] you can’t have rings, and then the guy plays a World Cup last-16 [match] with his necklace on, I’m like, ‘what are you doing?!'”
TIF Thoughts on Kounde…
Although he has not hit his top form yet this season, it is far too early to write off his chances of success at Barcelona.
His price tag and experience would suggest he is one of the most talented defenders in Europe, and if he is given a chance to thrive in his natural position in the centre, we feel the 24-year-old would be able to showcase the ability that made him so successful at Sevilla.
Having started just half of Barcelona’s league matches thus far, he is yet to gain a consistent run in the side and this has perhaps impacted his ability to slot into his national side easily.
If he is given the nod at right-back against England, he will face a tough test against Phil Foden, and the game could be decided on how well he deals with the Manchester City star.