Recent Ligue 2 champion and Australian international, Denis Genreau, has spoken at length about the upcoming season where he will juggle Ligue 1 football with Toulouse FC and an attempt to push for more minutes with the Socceroos.
Under the sun of the south of France, not all the players of Toulouse Football Club have started their pre-season at the same time. International representatives including Australian Genreau were able to enjoy a few extra days. After returning from a well-deserved break, Genreau spoke to the local newspaper La Dépêche.
Whether he is in the national team or at club level, Denis Genreau is not yet an undisputed starter. After a successful Ligue 2 campaign where he registered two goals and three assists in 34 games, Genreau has never stopped praising his transfer to France:
“At Toulouse, we felt the atmosphere in the stadium, in the city, growing until the last game when it was really crazy [editor’s note: where he scored the winning goal against Nîmes Olympique (2-1) at home]. It was a great season, and I was able to use that for the national team. It was also very special.”
Unlike a city that demonstrates eternal support for its team, most Australians were divided by differing thoughts regarding selection and the manager which led to a sense of skepticism pervading the group prior to their qualification for the World Cup.
“Nobody in Australia believed in us. We had started the qualification well but we had an off period, with a draw against China, against Oman, a defeat against Saudi Arabia, and everybody started to criticize us, to say that we were not good enough and that we would not go to the World Cup,” said Genreau.
“In the playoff against Peru, everyone in Australia said we didn’t have a chance. Then the coach gave us confidence throughout the week. In the end, we were better than them. I didn’t play, but to be part of this team, to live this moment, is really special.”
Genreau is also supportive of previously under-fire coach Graham Arnold who he says tries to “make the transition between two generations of players” and who believes enormously in these young people.
For Genreau, the Qatar World Cup holds a special significance because the French-Australian will be able to play against France, the country of his parents and where he was born.
“It’s incredible. I watched the previous game in 2018 on TV. It’s a lot of emotions because both countries are in my heart. So there, playing against France… It can happen only once in a lifetime, even sometimes never. I will enjoy it. And hope to win.”
This is somewhat of a dream for the technical maestro who, until a year ago, was plying his trade for the Macarthur Bulls in the A-League. For the midfielder, the future will be fought in Ligue 1 where he will have to continue to fight for a starting place in Toulouse and more minutes with the Socceroos.