When Theo Hernandez took to the field as a centre-back for the first time in an AC Milan shirt, he might just have been trying to channel his older brother Lucas.
This morning’s edition of Tuttosport (via PianetaMilan) talks about the ‘footballing DNA of the Hernández family’ that solved the main problem for Stefano Pioli’s side in the preparations for the 3-1 home win against Frosinone. That is, identifying a second central defender to deploy alongside Fikayo Tomori in a department decimated by injuries.
As revealed by Pioli himself after the game, it was Theo Hernández himself who offered to play in that role and thus leaving the left-back position to Alessandro Florenzi. The paper adds that it is likely that Theo came forward with a very specific reference in mind: his older brother Lucas.
Lucas Hernandez – formerly of Atlético Madrid and Bayern Munich, now at PSG – also started out as a left-back but has since gravitated towards becoming an excellent left-footed central defender.
In 2019 he moved from Atléti to Bayern for €80m and played more as a central defender with the Bundesliga giants. France coach Didier Deschamps also took note of this and began to use him more and more often as a centre-back rather than as a full-back, coinciding with Theo’s first call-ups to Les Bleus .
It is true that Lucas played the full-back position in a less aggressive way than Theo, so the move to the heart of the rearguard followed a more defined and perhaps natural predisposition. Theo’s characteristics are different, but he has structure and physical strength that help him with the tasks of the role.
Against Frosinone he did very well but this was in part helped by the less than brilliant evening of the visiting forwards. The experiment will probably be repeated against Atalanta and Newcastle, with Pioli hoping for more good signs so he has another emergency solution.