Immersed in one of the worst seasons in several years, Olympique Lyonnais has lost in the middle of Ligue 1 and in the turmoil for a crucial game to hope to play a European Cup next year, against Strasbourg this Sunday (7pm). But faced with this predicament, the Rhone club saw Castello Lukeba emerge. At 19, young Lyonnais immediately intruded on OL’s central defence, with a maturity and ease on the ground that was beyond astonishing.
First launched against Brest (1-1) and Angers (1-1) in the first two days, French international Espoirs logically fell short. But then Peter Bosz trusted him against Brondby, in the Europa League (3-1), and since then he has only returned to the bench four times to date. To the point where you pass everyone in the hierarchy, including Jason Denayer and Jérôme Boateng.
An impressive increase
His precocity and sense of the collective force Lyon supporters to make an easy-to-find comparison with Samuel Umtiti, the other left-handed central defender who left OL’s training center to become world champions in 2018. A rise in power that impresses his coach. “He’s really consistent, that’s good for a young player. But even there there are things he needs to do better, that’s normal. But we’re really happy. It’s harder when you’re 18, in central defense because a wrong is expensive.he explained last February.
Castello Jr. appeared before the press on Friday before the Strasbourg reception and returned to this phenomenal first season, after this draw at West Ham, in C3 (1-1). “It’s a great experience, it’s my first professional season, there was a great atmosphere. I had lots of fun. The English teams put in a lot of intensity and we had to react to what they offered. I would rather have left London with the win”he explained.
OL have already secured their jewel
†By playing matches in Ligue 1 you progress. I’ve made progress in all areas (tactics, technique), it’s a different world. I try to stay focused on what I can do, but football moves fast. I stay focused and don’t get excitedadds the 19-year-old defender. I’m still learning, but I’m doing my best. I want to apply for a starter position, that is my goal. Playing matches in Ligue 1 helps me. I think I’ve improved in all areas, tactics and even mentally.†
If Lukeba assures that he is not yet a real starter, Olympique Lyonnais is counting on him for next season. The French central defender has extended his contract with Lyon an extra year last January, ie until 2025† And while Jason Denayer is nearing the end of his contract and Jérôme Boateng’s physical condition is not improving, Lukeba should therefore be the new boss of the Rhone Hinge at the age of 19. OL would also target Issa Diop to support him from next summer…