The strange case of Jonathan Clauss, praise of the will: from nowhere to calling up France as world champion at 29

She has not experience international. How many times has this phrase been used to express perplexity about one convocationor to analyze a performance not up to the standard of those usually provided by the player in his own league? Jonathan Clauss it represents the essence of the lack of international experience. Not just because, like many colleagues surprisingly arrived at the call-up to the national team, he has never played a single game in an official European cup. His case is unique: Clauss has never even worn a shirt national selection youth. Nothing under-16, under-18 or under-21. Nothing at all. The call of the France coach Didier Deschamps for friendlies against Ivory Coast And South Africa represents, at the age of 29, his first call ever. And it is at least singular that this episode takes place in the world champion national team and not in a tiny federation that struggles to set up a twenty of credible names.

Clauss plays in the Lens and is currently the second best assist-man in the Ligue 1 (9 totaled ones) on par with Dimitri Payet of Marseille. Alone Kylian Mbappè And Lionel Messito which after the last weekend it was also added Benjamin Bourigeaud of Rennes, precede him in this ranking. But the role of Clauss, who has so far scored 4 goals this season, is that of full-back / right winger, who two summers ago, when he moved to Lens, had never set foot in the top division of a championship national. Yet already in his first year with Les Sang et Or, although starting initially as a reserve, he managed to establish himself as one of the highest performing players in the entire Ligue 1so much so that it was included in the list of the best of the season drawn up by the newspaper L’Equipe. Repeated performances also in the current season, which sees Lens fighting for one European qualification escaped in the previous championship only by one point. The absences of Leo Dubois of Lyon and Fernand Mendy of Real Madrid have completed the work, convincing Deschamps to give Clauss an absolutely unexpected slice of fame just a few months ago. The footballer waited for the coach’s announcement directly inside the Lens locker room, together with his team companions teamand at the reading of the name the party exploded.

Clauss has become professional only at 24, after a decade spent in the nursery of Strasbourg without ever reaching the first team, and ended with the cut for reasons both physical (it was considered too low) and behavioral (the frequent delays in training were, according to the evaluators, a clear sign of an inadequate attitude to the world of professionalism). After the disappointment, Clauss was married to another team from Strasbourg, the amateurs of Vaubansupplementing the meager salary with a job like delivery man. Between 2013 and 2015 he played in the German sixth division with Linxthen returned to his homeland finding, after two further seasons in the amateur footballa contract with the Quevilly-Rouen in Ligue 2. Despite its good performances, with 8 assists overall in the league, the club of the Normandy finished penultimate and relegated to National, the third division of the French league. But Clauss refused to go back one more time and left the club. He auditioned in Belarusthen got a call from Bielefeldwhere the local team, theArminiawas struggling with an endless series of injuries. They needed players with the maximum urgency and they asked him to reach the city that same evening.

Clauss played two seasons in Zweite Bundesligacontributing with the usual handful of assists to the promotion of Arminia without following the team in Bundesliga. In fact, in the summer of 2020 he opted not to renew his contract with the Germans and instead sign a triennial with the Lens. On 13 September 2020, at the age of 27 years and 11 months, on the field of Lorient Clauss debuted in Ligue 1. In less than two years he arrived in nationalconfirming what was declared to the newspaper Le Parisien from Lens ds Florent Ghisolfi at the time of his engagement: “The first thing that stands out about him is the will to look forward and to always go further, in a constant challenge against himself. A quality awesome“.