Desperately needing some defensive reinforcements after a terrible start to their Premier League campaign, Fulham spread their transfer wings and brought in, among others, Joachim Andersen from Lyon on loan.
The Dane, who had enjoyed a rather mixed bag of a first season in France, jumped at the opportunity when it became clear Rudi Garcia wouldn’t be using him regularly, and, despite picking up an early injury after arriving, has established himself as a leader in Scott Parker’s team.
So much so, in fact, that the former midfielder handed him the captain’s armband for the games against Leicester and, most recently, Manchester City.
Sitting down with Lyon local newspaper Le Progrès on Thursday, the Fulham loanee was asked about his newfound responsibility in London.
He said: “It’s something else! To be captain of the team after just four games, it’s incredible. I’m very proud. Once again, it shows the trust the manager has in me. It shows I’m working well and that I can be a leader for this team: I’m playing well, I’m focused in training.
“It’s a nice reward, to feel that people around me trust me is very important to me, and I especially felt that here. It’s key to development. I’m 24. I need to learn a lot still, and the only way to learn is to play every game”.
That consistency on the pitch is what he lacked at Lyon, and while he ‘respects’ Garcia’s decision to choose others instead of him, his desire to play every game was too important, hence why he asked to leave.
As for why he chose Fulham, he said: “This loan, it’s a win-win. I wanted game time to develop, but also for Lyon, because if I didn’t play, my value was going to diminish. At the beginning, Lyon didn’t want to let me go, but I pushed and they accepted”.
Things are going well at Fulham for Andersen, with ‘everyone being very nice’, and the centre-back seems reborn at Craven Cottage.
While the London club don’t have an option to buy him, it could be something they consider down the line if they manage to avoid the drop back down to the Championship, but they’ll also have to convince him.
Andersen ended by saying: “I’ve got a contract (with Lyon) until 2024. I’m not the type to just give up. I want to show that I can still be an important player with Lyon, but for that, I need to have that trust.
“For now, I’m focusing on playing well and improving myself, and we’ll see how things go next summer”.