Lucas Digne left Everton and completed a switch to Aston Villa at the start of this year.
He made 13 league appearances for the Toffees in the first half of the season before he had a fall out with Rafael Benitez at Goodison Park.
The Spaniard decided to bench the player for league fixtures in December, forcing the 28-year-old to look for a solution in January. The ex-Barcelona man secured it when he sealed a transfer to Villa Park, while Everton sacked Benitez later that month.
Digne has been included in the France squad for the ongoing international break. This gave L’Equipe an opportunity to sit down for an interview with the fullback, where they discussed his move to Villa.
“I was lucky to have several clubs and I chose Aston Villa for the project, the coach. I know it will work for me,” he said.
“I did not speak about it with the coach (Didier Deschamps). As long as I have playing time and I perform well… It’s a club that has a history.
“And, over time, you will see that there will be the quality to break into the top seven in the Premier League. Managing to attract someone like Philippe is already a sign. This summer, it will still move a lot. There are ways. You have to progress quickly. It is an ambitious club.”
“I lived three and a half years of happiness and love with the supporters. I had, and still have, a great relationship with them, with people at the club, my former teammates. But I don’t look back. Football is like that. One day everything is fine, the next month it is less so. And you have to make decisions,” Digne explained.
“When you are part of the framework, there are discussions with the coach. The relationship we had was not good. It was complicated to be excluded from the group for a month. It was an unprecedented situation in my career. But I had my family and my teammates with me.
“I also saw Raphaël Varane quite often, as we lived nearby. I took it upon myself. I continued to work on the side, to be behind my friends. I have never refused to play.”
Benitez, while still at Everton, went public with the news Digne wanted a way out of the club.
Asked specifically about these comments, Digne said: “It was a way for him to protect himself. I never asked for that. People who know me at the club know that everything was going very well. I was not the only one to leave, moreover (James Rodriguez, in particular).”
When discussing the disagreement with the former Liverpool boss, Digne claims he seems to have been proven right since Benitez was shown the exit door at Goodison Park.
“In relation to the style of play, especially. I thought we had a team that could have a lot more possession, which we had the quality for. He asked me the question, I gave him my answer,” the France international stressed.
“I know my place. I felt legitimate to give him my feelings and those of the other players in the locker room. The group was unanimous. The sequel proved me right, since he was fired because of the poor results. I think he also had a bad philosophy. He didn’t fit at Everton.”