EPL

Spain star Laporte reveals his football viewing apathy and love for playing alongside Rodri

By Sports Desk December 01, 2022

Aymeric Laporte headed into Spain's Group E finale having not missed a beat at the heart of Luis Enrique's defence – but his overall World Cup focus has been sketchy at best and that is by his own admission.

The Manchester City defender, who has been joined by club-mate Rodri at the heart of the Spanish backline, has indicated he is not paying attention to the tournament far beyond caring about La Roja's next game.

Former Athletic Bilbao star Laporte said he had not "even looked" at who might await Spain in the last-16 stage and had "no idea" of the possibilities of who that might be.

It is perhaps an unusual attitude for a professional footballer, but Laporte appears to fall into the category of sportsmen who are stunningly proficient in what they do, but not naturally inclined to take their work home with them.

He told the Guardian: "I'm not a football addict. Honestly, I don't like watching matches."

The 28-year-old accepts he is not the sharpest at keeping tabs on his team's workload, even at City.

"Honestly, when I play for City, I don't even know what time kick-off is," he said. "My family call and say: hey, what time tomorrow? [I say] 'I don't know.'"

However, Laporte has done little wrong on the pitch in Spain's opening games, a 7-0 win over Costa Rica and a 1-1 draw with Germany.

Heading into Thursday's run of games, of all defenders to have played at least 90 minutes in this World Cup, Laporte had averaged the most passes per 90 minutes (125.5 – 11.31 more than anyone else) and the most passes in his own half (89 – 18 more than the next player on the list).

He had had the third-most touches per 90 minutes (132.5) among defenders, with only team-mate Jordi Alba (136.23) and Germany's Nico Schlotterbeck (132.58) having more.

It helps that Spain play in a similar vein to City, with their possession-based game one that suits Laporte, and it can only help to have Rodri with him, even if for their club the former Atletico Madrid man is typically deployed in midfield.

Laporte had no doubt Rodri would be an ideal fit for defensive duties, and he is coaching his friend through games.

They had another job to do against Japan on Thursday, with Spain knowing a draw would be enough to secure progress.

"Rodri's intelligent, he knows how to adapt," Laporte said. "It's different for him. He seeks advice, asks a lot of questions; it's all very natural.

"We've only let in one and we hope there aren't any more. Basically, I answer the questions he asks. Do I step out? When do we drop? Do I have to go with the striker when he runs into the space? Do I hold? Do I follow? Do I step out with the ball?

"He asks lots of questions: being firm, decision-making, with the ball, without it. And I try to help as best I can."

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