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Samuel Umtiti’s Starting Spot Isn’t Automatic

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Clément Lenglet has filled in admirably

FC Barcelona v Girona FC - La Liga Photo by Alex Caparros/Getty Images

Samuel Umtiti is expected to be back in action for Barcelona soon. He did not make the bench of the 1-1 draw with Inter Milan, but he has been back in training and his time will come soon.

But when he returns, will he still be a starter? Before the injury, it was clear that the Frenchman was an automatic pick for Ernesto Valverde. But in his absence, Clément Lenglet has done a really good job. Some are even arguing that Gerard Piqué should be benched before Lenglet.

Umtiti may return to the “gala XI,” but it’s not as clear as it was at first that this will be the case. That’s not Umtiti’s fault, at all. He’s been an absolutely class signing. It’s rather that Lenglet has adapted so well to the team that is bringing the question up.

Still, for whatever reason, Barça have shipped a lot of goals. Maybe Umtiti will provide an upgrade and help the team keep more clean sheets. When it comes to the national team, Umtiti is a starter for France, whereas Lenglet is yet to receive his first cap. There’s probably a good reason for that.

Without a doubt, Barcelona can be ecstatic that it now has two great young left-footed French defenders. With Thomas Vermaelen when he is fit, Barça probably have more depth at centerback today than in a long time.