Sekou Macalou (third line of the French Stadium) – At 27, the Parisian international seems determined to make a radical change. Like his club, he no longer wants to experience a galley season.
Stade Français was criticized for a lack of character last season. What about this season?
I had very badly experienced these criticisms, but it was a reality. So much so that we found ourselves struggling not to play the access match. This season, this subject will be a priority. The Stade Français has never been a club of sheep, but a club with players of character, different players. The club has also recruited a lot of vengeful players who will surely do us good.
Precisely, Damian Penaud said that for the French Stadium, the arrival of Morgan Parra was surely a good pick…
Morgan is a great player with immense experience. In a few weeks, we have already felt the benefits of his presence. He brings us everything we need, especially this leadership that we have so lacked. As for the game, it stinks of rugby. When he speaks, everyone drinks his words. He invests himself for the good of the team. He has nothing more to prove, that’s what’s fun.
Personally, with the prospect of a possible participation in the World Cup in 2023, how do you fit into this group?
I know there is a lot of expectation around me. I had the chance to participate in the tour in Japan with the XV of France. I really want to be part of the project. Just like with the French Stadium.
How do you live the fact of being sometimes used as a winger in the France team?
I see it as a chance, an opportunity to expand my game. I really appreciate the confidence of the coaches and their way of supporting me. I have a feeling it can be beneficial. Playing on the wing, I may have more of a reflex to raise my head to look for support once the defensive curtain has been crossed, which I didn’t always do. Before, I tended to want to finish the action on my own.
You sometimes reflect a nonchalant image on the field. Do you feel it?
It is external looks that convey this image. Those who know me inside the group know that I work, that I give everything for the team.
But isn’t your biggest axis of progress to be more regular?
I know that people reproach me for not being consistent. Last year, I was sometimes very good, sometimes very bad. But I also feel like I’m expected to cross the pitch every time I touch the ball. The reality is quite different. A player is never on top in every game. But I know I have to work, maybe mentally, to be more consistent.
Before facing Clermont for the first day, what are your objectives?
The objective is to return to the final phase. Frankly, it bores me to finish 11th in the Top 14. It’s not worthy of the standing of the club. For that, we have to start well on Saturday. Last year, we went through against Racing (21-36) on the first day and it weighed on our start to the season. To launch our dynamic, we absolutely have to beat Clermont.