Despite hefty competition for places in the center of defense at Atlético Madrid, Lucas Hernandez has had several opportunities so far this season, and has yet to look out of his depth. In many ways he is a very different option to someone like Jose Gimenez, who will gamble on making a big tackle, which could pay off or create a big chance for the opposition. Lucas tends to play a more cautious game, relying less on Hollywood tackles and more on reading the opposition and stepping in at the right time for an interception.
Of the Atlético youth team players, the Hernandez brothers are both extremely highly thought of both at Atleti, and around the European game. It was reported that last summer, both Theo and Lucas turned down moves to Manchester City to continue their development at Atleti, or in Theo’s case, on loan. Lucas is in quite a good spot within the current Atlético setup, having played just over 1500 minutes in all competitions this season, and could find himself being in line to be one of Atlético’s starting center backs in the future, as Stefan Savic and Jose Gimenez could both move on at any time.
The dream, of course, is that eventually half of Atlético’s back line are from the Hernandez family, with Theo at left-back and Lucas in the middle. It seems increasingly likely that Theo may feel like he could be better served moving on from Atleti, but his brother staying could be a compelling reason to stick around. As well, Filipe Luis is not young anymore, and Atleti do not have much in the way of depth at that position, so there will be room for Theo should he stay.
Lucas’ main issue has nothing to do with how he plays, but the legal issue he had this year, where he and his girlfriend were both accused of assaulting each other. In the end, community service was Lucas and his partner’s punishment, and hopefully this is something that does not come back up, as domestic violence is something unfortunately commonplace in professional sports, and a terrible thing that must be prevented.
If Lucas can keep his legal situation in order, he really does look like a very good defender in the making, and with defenders, the best thing for them is to get more experience, and the end of this season and all of next, hopefully Lucas will show more signs of improvement. He could find himself at right back in a Champions League semi-final this week, which would certainly be a trial by fire for the young Frenchman.