Loïc Lapoussin (26) is one of the crowd’s favorites at Union, but in recent weeks he has increasingly had to be content with a spot on the bench. The Malagasy is nevertheless doing very well, but the competition on the left is fierce. Simon Adingra is proving more efficient in front of goal and the Ivorian seems to be above Lapoussin in the pecking order.
“Lapoussin, Lapoussin!” The audience is chanting the name of Loïc Lapoussin after the last home game against OH Leuven, in which he contributed to the only goal of the match with a great assist after his substitution. The Madagascar international is one of the crowd’s favourites, although he will have fewer playing opportunities this season due to the great performances of Simon Adingra.
For Union it is a luxury problem. The left wingback has been a busy position with plenty of opportunities since last season. Then Kaoru Mitoma and Loïc Lapoussin – who was often placed centrally last season – had to fight it out. Now Lapoussin has to compete with Simon Adingra, who is rented from sister club Brighton & Hove Albion until the end of the season. One thing is certain: the Ivorian can present much better statistics than Lapoussin. Adingra has seven goals and four assists in the competition, Lapoussin has one goal and one assist. A world of difference. “I often get criticized for it,” realizes Loïc Lapoussin. “I am indeed less decisive than Simon, but I can still make myself useful by, for example, also making extra defensive efforts. I always try to do the maximum, no matter what. Although my statistics can indeed be improved.”
Loïc Lapoussin already experienced an eventful period after the World Cup break. The Madagascar international was banned from the squad for disciplinary reasons in the cup match against KV Oostende, the first match after the break, after he refused an alcohol check from the police while drunk. Since then, Lapoussin has been on the couch more often than he likes. “I have made personal mistakes for which I have to take responsibility,” said Lapoussin. “I was a titular here, and I didn’t expect to be a substitute. I have to accept it and it is up to me to show that I have sufficient qualities to start in the base.”
There is no doubt that Lapoussin has qualities in abundance. In his last inning against OH Leuven, he painted the leather on Gustaf Nilsson’s head, good for the winning goal. “My goal when I came in was of course to try to make a difference. In the end I succeeded, despite the fact that I didn’t hit many balls. I didn’t expect to start on the bench against Leuven, but you have to stay strong in your head.”
Karel Geraerts certainly likes to see the competition on the left flank happen. “This competition pushes them to the limit,” says the 41-year-old from Limburg. “I am an open coach and it is up to me to handle the situation properly. But I realize that I have two players with enormous qualities in that position.”