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Will Kounde continue at right-back when he returns to Barcelona?

The defender has featured as a full-back for France

England v France: Quarter Final - FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 Photo by Marc Atkins/Getty Images

Jules Kounde is part of the France team hoping to secure a place in the World Cup final on Wednesday when Les Bleus take on Morocco in the semi-finals.

The defender has played at right-back throughout the tournament for Didier Deschamps’ side and told a press conference ahead of the Morocco game it’s a position he’s still adapting to.

“I’m getting used to it, there’s still a lot of room for improvement, I feel better and better,” he told reporters.

Kounde had said earlier in the tournament he’s not “reluctant” to play as a full-back and that it helps having team-mate Ousmane Dembele in front of him.

All of which is a far cry from reports earlier this season that claimed Kounde had told Xavi he really didn’t want to play right-back for Barcelona this season.

Yet he’s had to already in 2022-23, so too have Ronald Araujo and Alejandro Balde, and he may have to again when he returns from the World Cup with France.

Barca had been tipped to bring in a right-back this winter but that’s now looking unlikely, meaning Xavi must decide who will feature in the position.

Balde should return to the left flank, Hector Bellerin hasn’t really convinced, while Sergi Roberto is fit again but has struggled with injuries over the last couple of seasons.

All of which suggests that Kounde could get the nod, certainly in key games, in the second half of the campaign.

It’s perhaps not the ideal solution but Xavi is blessed with plenty of options in central defense, providing everyone can stay fit when domestic action resumes.

Ronald Araujo will be back from injury, Andreas Christensen was arguably Denmark’s best player at the World Cup, while Eric Garcia may just have a point to prove after not playing a single minute in Qatar.

Marcos Alonso is also able to play at center-back, while it’s also been reported that Xavi could also use 19-year-old prospect Chadi Riad as a back-up option after seeing Gerard Pique hang up his boots.

All of which means Xavi may have the luxury of using Kounde at full-back instead of alongside Araujo in the heart of the defense.

Would that be the best option for Barca or should Kounde play in his preferred position?

Let us know your thoughts and suggestions on how Xavi should line up his defense for the rest of the season in the comments below.

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