“I am proud of Bradley Barcola”, confides Eric Hély, one of his trainers

The PSG player is part of the list of 25 players that Didier Deschamps has called up to play in Euro 2024, which takes place from June 14 to July 14 in Germany.



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Bradley Barcola, during the match between PSG and Real Sociedad, February 14, 2024 in Paris.  (MIGUEL MEDINA / AFP)

Paris Saint-Germain winger Bradley Barcola was selected by Didier Deschamps to participate in the next Euro, in Germany, from June 14 to July 14. Author of a good season with PSG, the 21-year-old player makes Eric Hély proud. His former under-18 coach at Olympique Lyonnais, the club where he trained, spoke to franceinfo.

Tell us about “your” Bradley Barcola…

I had it in two categories, in under-19 and with the Youth League team, The Champions League in this age category. At the time, he was the only upgraded and starting 18-year-old player. At the time, he played with Pierre Kalulu (now at AC Milan), Melvin Bard (at Nice), Malo Gusto (at Chelsea) and Amine Gouiri (at Rennes). I remember his very first match, at Paris FC. He was already showing what he is doing at the moment with PSG. He scored two goals, he was flying, and then I said to myself that he was different. He combined speed and technical relaxation in front of goal.

What are his qualities as a footballer?

Technical ease, his ability to repeat races at high intensity, his speed. And he keeps his lucidity in front of the goals. The actions he performed as a professional, he did the same as a youngster, except that he did not have the same opponents facing him (smiles).

And the boy, what was he like?

He is an intelligent, hard-working, well-educated person. I never had the slightest problem, either with him or those around him. Mentally, he is strong. At PSG he was lucky to find a coach who trusted him. But he often responded when the level rose. In Lyon, he knew how to be patient, but when he was given his chance, he knew how to seize it. He is an observer, a little introverted at first. He doesn’t claim leadership, like Ryan Cherki, but Bradley is both a talented person and a team player.

How do you feel after his selection for the Blues for the Euro?

When you are a trainer, it is a satisfaction, it is a pleasure, it is a source of pride. Especially since in this list, Bradley is not the only one, there is also Marcus Thuram and Ibrahima Konaté who I had at Sochaux. But there is no mystery, the three players I have just mentioned are hard workers, always listening. Natural qualities are not enough. These are kids who try every day to be better for tomorrow.

“What comforts me is that these three boys are good people. They convey good images, they are examples for young people.”

It’s still a meteoric rise…

I remember seeing him play a match with the OL reserves, at Saint-Priest. He was already training with the pros, sometimes when you come back to the level below in terms of motivation, it’s not easy. But honestly, if someone that day said that Bradley would play a year and a half later at Paris Saint-Germain and be selected for the French team… I think I have a bit of experience, I have a bit of eye, but no one would have predicted it. He bluffs me. I thought that when he left Lyon last summer, he was still missing another year to reach a new level. Mentally, what he did was strong. He started 5 months at OL and things went well, he was transferred to PSG, to the best club in France and he moved on. That’s a lot of strength of character. And unlike others, he doesn’t speak: he acts on the ground.

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