The Madrid derby was a scrappy affair with two teams low on confidence. If the game did anything for Atlético, however, it gave them a look at just how good Lucas Hernández can be in a starting role in big games. It is not surprising to the U-12 Atletico Madrid manager, Santi Expósito, who has been close enough to see the left-back's development since he was 11 years old.
"He arrived a few days after the season started and he really impressed us. In that team, we had Rodri, who plays with Villarreal now, and Rober, who debuted last year with Cholo. Lucas was the left central defender, and arrived as a five and was the captain, he fit great into the group. He was a very good kid, focused and if anything we had to work on tailoring his vigour on the field. But he always listened and was very receptive to learning. I think that he has followed on like that," said the manager.
With Lucas in the team, his brother Theo arrived a year his junior. "With Theo, I had him the next year. At that time, Lucas stood out more and his brother exploded the year after," he says.
The French defender has 11 times this season in both a central position and as a left-back and Exposito says he will be able to adapt to play where he is needed. "With us, he was a centre-half and there he was training and improving but his desire to learn and compete along with his faith in himself will allow him to played wherever he is needed," explains Exposito.
"I don't know how much Lucas is worth in this market but he has an incredible present and future. The derby was not a coincidence or a matter of good timing. I don't know where his ceiling is. He can go wherever he wants because he is competitive and has the talent. If he has the confidence of the coach, Atlético Madrid have a great defender for the next ten years," continues Expósito, his first coach.