Ismaël Doukouré: “Give your body and soul to go all the way” - Racing Club de Strasbourg Alsace


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Ismaël Doukouré: “Give your body and soul to go all the way”

Called up by Landry Chauvin for the France squad participating in the European Under-19 Championship in Slovakia, Doukouré gives his thoughts ahead of the tournament.

Ismaël, you are going to begin the European Championship tonight with the France U19 team. How was the preparation?

Doukouré: “We’ve been preparing for a while now. We had a free weekend to recover a little bit. We then returned to Clairefontaine to continue the training camp with two friendly matches against Israel (1-1, 1-1), then we took off for Slovakia on Tuesday. The days were a bit busy, especially during preparation. These are days during which we had two training sessions a day, with two friendly matches to play, but also other activities so as not to think only about football. Since we’ve been in Slovakia, the days have been a little more structured, since we’ll be playing every 2-3 days, so the coaches and the staff have adapted to make the week a little easier for us.”

It’s imaginable that the necessary approach to this kind of competition is to have the objective of going all the way…

“We’re all competitors in the squad. We all want to win and we’re here to do that. We’re here to represent France and we’ll give ourselves body and soul to achieve our goal. We saw the U17 generation, which recently won its European Championship, the 2002 generation, which also won a tournament. Inevitably, it makes you want to do the same and it puts a little extra positive pressure on us.”

Have you been in touch with your Strasbourg counterparts Tom Saettel and Zoumana Diallo, who were recently crowned European U17 champions?

“I was able to talk a little bit with Tom. Frankly, it makes you want to. These are experiences that you can only have once, unfortunately, when you are young. And so I think you have to make the most of them and do everything to get to the end.”

“Be the best teammate possible”

You were sidelined in the second half of the 2021/22 season due to injury. Do you see your participation in this European Championship as a great opportunity to find the rhythm of the tournament?

“It’s true that the injury was a bit difficult for me. I’d have liked my arrival in Strasbourg to have gone differently. That said, I’ll have time to resume with Strasbourg. I’ll be in a good momentum having had the chance to disconnect less than the others. I’ll be a little better prepared. Coming back to the club, the technical staff and the physical trainers will do their best to optimise my form. But it’s true that competing in a European championship during the off-season can be something very interesting in view of the start of the season with Racing.”

You were part of the France squad that competed in the Tokyo Olympics. Does this allow you to approach this Euro more calmly?

“The Olympics were a great experience for me despite our campaign, which didn’t turn out the way we wanted. It’s clear that I have a kind of extra experience that the others don’t have. Experience that I intend to give to the service of the squad, whether by speaking, in the changing room or on the pitch. I rubbed shoulders with world champion players like Florian Thauvin, very great players like André-Pierre Gignac or even Téji Savanier. It also helped me in the sense that I take a bit of everyone’s attitudes to be the best teammate possible. The Olympics are something incredible, magical. Inevitably, this allows you to be a little more calm and to approach such a competition.”

Credit: Lazz Sport