PSG: Areola in 'pole position to be number one'
Paris Saint-Germain coach Thomas Tuchel has spoken about the competition between youth academy product Alphonse Areola and Italian veteran 'keeper Gianluigi Buffon at the capital club.
Paris Saint-Germain's France 'keeper Alphonse Areola is "in pole position to be number one", ahead of Italian legend Gianluigi Buffon, according to coach Thomas Tuchel, who also underlined the importance of capitalising on the 25-year-old Areola's youth.
"The decision in not a definitive one, but I told Alphonse that, in my opinion, he is in pole position be number one due to his being younger," explained Tuchel on French radio station RMC Sport. Areola, a product of the Paris Saint-Germain youth academy, is under contract through to next June, while Buffon, a Juventus and Italy legend, signed for Paris in the summer, aged 40.
High times for Areola
"For Areola, PSG is his life; it's everything for him and he absolutely wants to prove himself here," Tuchel reasoned just hours after the young 'keeper shone in his senior France debut in the Nations League against Germany (0-0). "You have to respect that. You have to be proud to have players of this nature - and capitalise on it. We need players like this as they are the heart and soul of Paris Saint-Germain.
"We need to fine-tune things, as we're in a situation where there is also a legend in the picture - one of Alphonse's idols is right alongside him. If we can manage this combination cleverly while being generous to both parties, I'm certain that we will reap the rewards and that Alphonse will not be good despite Gigi but, rather, because of him," explained the former Dortmund boss, who handed Buffon a start in the season's first outing before getting Areola's season going with an eye on the Champions League, where Buffon will be suspended for the first three matches.
'A huge influence'
Tuchel also spoke about the Italian 'keeper's importance as a figure in the dressing room: "He's not just a player on the bench; he's a player who has a huge influence on the squad on a daily basis. He saved us in Guingamp (in Week 2 of Ligue 1 Conforama) by playing brilliantly. And when he's on the bench to allow Alphonse game time, he could be simply sitting there, watching the match with his arms crossed, but instead he is active; he communicates with the players and tries to help me out."
Paris Saint-Germain's next outing is their Ligue 1 Conforama Week 5 clash at home to Saint-Etienne on Friday, 14 September.