Kingsley Coman has been one of Bayern Munich’s most consistent performers so far the season. The pacey French winger might not cover himself in glory with the amount of goals he scores, but his overall contributions cannot be understated. In a recent interview with French outlet Le Parisien, Coman spoke about some of the injury setbacks he’s had deal with, how he’s had to adapt his attacking style, and more.
Within the past two seasons, Coman suffered two separate injuries to the same ankle that kept him on the sidelines for long periods. He was forced to miss the 2018 World Cup with France, which he’s admitted was one of the most difficult periods of his career.
Earlier this year he even went as far as saying he’d consider retiring from football altogether if he were to suffer another serious ankle injury. As time as passed, though, he admits that he’s not as afraid of injuries as much anymore, especially because of their circumstantial nature:
Let’s say that for a brief moment I was afraid of re-injuring myself. It’s a fear that has come to me. But besides that... I have the same state of mind. With time, I’ve learned that injuries happen. I’ve also learned why I relapsed, beyond the tackle that caused my second injury. I’m working so that that never happens again, but there are many players who get hurt. So I thought that was perhaps not my problem.
I said after my second comeback that I’d quit soccer if I injured myself a third time, but that was in the heat of the moment, under the sway of emotion. I was very low psychologically. Fortunately, it didn’t go on too long.
Coman explained he always plays with an ankle stay now and that a French osteopath visits him twice a month in Munich. He gives him advice on multiple aspects that help him keep his ankle supple and flexible. Coman also watches his weight very carefully.
His physique, he said, may have been part of the problem as to why he was getting injured so often and he said he learned how to adapt his playing style to be able to deal with and/or prevent contact from and opposing player:
I thought that my body was perhaps not robust enough. I’m trying to strengthen it today and also avoid dangerous tackles. Before, if I saw the opponent was going to cut me off, but I could take the ball before him, I went in to get the foul. Today, I let it go, because I know there will be other actions where I can make the difference. That’s what I learned after this year, 2018.
As an attacking player
There can be no doubting Coman’s attacking ability, but he’s often received criticism for his decision making in the final third. So far this season, he’s collected 3 goals and 5 assists from a total of 15 appearances across all competitions. France manager Didier Deschamps was one of the major influences behind Coman adapting his attacking style of play because in 2016, he told him he needed to bring more variety to his game:
It’s always the same thing with maximum efficiency. That was my problem before and it still is a bit today. [Deschamps] wants me to be present in front of the goal and not only on the side — that I move inside without the ball, basically to have more variety in my game.
Since making some adjustments after hearing the advice from Deschamps, Coman feels that his presence in front of goal has improved significantly to the point where he’s creating more opportunities, but he’ll never be deadly like Robert Lewandowski:
Yes, I’m forcing myself to be more present in front of goal, and I’m creating more opportunities for myself. Sometimes it pays off, sometimes not. That said, I don’t think I will ever score 30, 40, 50 goals. That killer instinct in front of goal — I’m working on it, but it’s not natural for me. I love a decisive pass. But I know that goals have become very important. So I’m doing violence to myself, I’m trying to be more egotistical.
His single season scoring record is 12 goals. When he was asked how many he could potentially score this season, he said he’s definitely trying to beat his record mark:
Definitely more than 12, yes. My objective is to pass that. Stats are very important, I know. But I’ll never pervert my game and always be on the surface. I’m a winger; my game is primarily to create. There needs to be homogeneity and different players on a team.
Coman is one of the paciest players in the Bundesliga and he recently clocked the fastest speed ever recorded in the league in Bayern’s 3-2 win over SC Paderborn earlier this season when he was recorded to have sprinted at 35.7 km/h. He was asked about how quick he is in comparison to French compatriot Kylian Mbappe, whom he thinks slightly edges him in the speed department and also said he’s a lot like Bayern’s Serge Gnabry:
I think it’s Kylian [who’s faster]. Maybe not on acceleration, but over distance, he’s definitely faster than me. We are two players who give the game impetus, we’re very much provocateurs. That brings a lot of danger on the flanks. Kylian Mbappé has somewhat of the same profile as Serge Gnabry at Bayern; he’s more of a finisher than me.
The ability to play on either flank is part of what makes Coman such an effective weapon in attack, but he said he prefers to play on the left:
I prefer the left side, but I’m young and I want to play. So being flexible is something positive, and that gives you more opportunities. I can play on the left at any team and create chances from nothing. On the right, though, I need to be led, to have good situations. Let’s say I’m more stoppable by a defense. But paradoxically, I’m more efficient on the right, which is why the coach at Bayern [Niko Kovac] preferred me on the right.
Lastly, Coman admitted that some of his support for Paris Saint-Germain, where he played for two seasons, has faded:
That’s faded. I’ve been living in Munich a long time and have fewer connections with France. In my heart of hearts, if PSG is playing against a team, I’ll support them, but now I’m looking more at the soccer match.