Football (League 2 BKT). Anthony Rouault’s crazy season at Toulouse football club

Yes ! What more could I have asked for? It really is a perfect season with the turnout and the title. I had the chance to play a lot of starting games, even though I missed some because of my injury. But overall, I played pretty much every game I could have played. So it was a really successful season, from all points of view, personally or collectively. Frankly, I would have been offered that I would have signed with both hands at the start of the season.

What was the strongest thing to live for you: the rise or the title?

I felt more euphoria on the way up. For the title we might have been a little better prepared or suspected a little more. We were less surprised, while the climb was experienced as a highlight. We said to ourselves: we made it! We had come to the end of something. In the win against…

Yes ! What more could I have asked for? It really is a perfect season with the turnout and the title. I had the chance to play a lot of starting games, even though I missed some because of my injury. But overall, I played pretty much every game I could have played. So it was a really successful season, from all points of view, personally or collectively. Frankly, I would have been offered that I would have signed with both hands at the start of the season.

What was the strongest thing to live for you: the rise or the title?

I felt more euphoria on the way up. For the title we might have been a little better prepared or suspected a little more. We were less surprised, while the climb was experienced as a highlight. We said to ourselves: we made it! We had come to the end of something. During the victory over Niort (2-0) that sealed the climb, with the invasion of the lawn by the spectators that we were not prepared for, the emotions were tenfold. While at the time of the title there was still an invasion, but since it was not the first time, it surprised us less. Even for the evening, for the title, we had already prepared something, but for the climb we had prepared nothing. It was really improv, it was the fun side with more emotions.

What memories do you keep of these different celebrations?

We celebrated the climb well. There was nothing crazy, nothing special, except that everyone started dancing. We didn’t think some were capable of that! During the season we hadn’t had a drink together, we hadn’t had a party, we had all been very serious. With a little alcohol we all rediscovered ourselves a bit. When we drink, we’re all a little different. There we all relaxed and had a good laugh together.

Stade Toulousain rugby players are used to celebrating titles in the Place du Capitole. How did you like standing in their shoes in front of the crowd?

It wasn’t as full as before Stade Toulousain, but it was a great moment, something big too. If we had been told this a few years ago, we would never have believed it. Given the past seasons, it seemed impossible. This is the reward for the work of the new shareholders. They managed to restore the image of the club. The fact that we are playing in Ligue 2 has certainly brought something to the city that has brought better results with better communication between the club and the supporters. All this created a craze, even last year during the Covid period when they came to support us as the bus passed, and this season we played in a sold out stadium twice. In Toulouse and in Ligue 2 it’s huge!

“The most important thing is that my club, my president and my coach trust me”

Your dad was a TFC fan before you put that shirt on. He should be damn proud today…

Secure ! We don’t necessarily talk about it, but I know deep down he’s super proud. He brought me this love for the club from birth, so I was also a supporter from an early age. When I see his son wearing the colors of the club he supported and watching TV a few years ago, I think that must certainly make him happy.

You participate in 27 of the 38 possible matches, plus a round of the Coupe de France, for only two defeats (in Caen and Rodez) with 4 goals and 1 assist. Is this your most successful season?

Secure. Last season served me mainly to learn. There I was able to play almost all the matches where I was available. I made my first professional goals, I gave my first assist at this level, these are pretty important things. So this season is necessarily the most successful. I am very happy with my season, now I have to keep working. It is far from an end in itself. We’re leveling up, so it gets even harder. If I had the ambition to go higher, I had to do a season like that.

You are in 11th Ligue 2 with five of your partners. Is it the icing on the cake next to the turnout and the title?

Yes, it really is. It also rewards all the work done during the season. It helps to be on the team that won the title. It’s nice to be rewarded like this, especially at my age [NDLR : il fêtera ses 21 ans ce dimanche 29 mai]† It’s all the more fun because it’s a player voice. I didn’t necessarily expect it, it wasn’t a goal at all. But I will gladly accept it. It is indicative of my season. But I try to take a step back from everything [NDLR : il est le seul joueur de Ligue 2 à figurer dans le classement du CIES qui répertorie les 100 joueurs de moins de 21 ans les plus prometteurs sur 32 championnats européens]† I know it can go both ways very quickly. The most important thing is that my club, my president and my coach trust me. The rest is not much. I don’t see myself more beautiful than I am.

However, the season got off to a bad start for you with a foot injury in September that left you out for two months…

The season had started quite well. By the time I got injured I had still managed to install minor status. I didn’t start from scratch, I showed the coach what I was worth and that made it easier for him to get back on the field. Perhaps it was also a sign of fate that had to be cut off in order to come back stronger. I used it like that, worked a lot during my injury to get more complete. It also helped me for the rest of the season. I have no regrets about this injury. Maybe I would have played more games without her, but maybe the end of the season wouldn’t have gone so well either.

“I don’t set goals or limits for myself. I am already happy to be able to experience all this, the goal is that it continues”

Do you feel like everything is moving very fast since your very first Ligue 2 match in October 2020 in Ajaccio?

I’m starting to realize this a little bit as I step back. Last season there were some interesting things, even if I had taken red cards that affected my performance. We also had another coach who trusted me less. This season I especially had the advantage that I had a coach who showed me a bit more. I have learned from all my small mistakes in the past and attacked this season with more experience and above all with the confidence of the coach. And it’s not over yet, I’m also going to use this season to progress.

What are you dreaming about now?

Ligue 1, here we are! I’ve never played there, so I don’t know what I’m worth at that level. We will have to get up to speed, keep the club going and see how far we can go. I don’t have many dreams, I just want to try to be the best I can be. Where will it end then? Ligue 2, Ligue 1, Champions League? I don’t know… I don’t set myself goals or limits. I am already happy that I can experience all of this, the goal is that it continues. I’m just trying to give myself the means to go as far as I can to not have any regrets. We’ll see where it takes me.

You have received a pre-selection for the France Espoirs team. Does this give you ideas?

I didn’t expect it at all. Mainly because I was never selected for the young French team. So it’s nice to know that the coach of the France Espoirs team is watching me. There, too, it means that I’ve had a good season and that my performance is being noticed. I wasn’t selected this time, it’s not a disappointment at all because I don’t think I was ready yet. There are some great people ahead of me with players who play in England or in the top 3 in France making European Cups. I’m still a long way from it. But maybe one day I’ll go and if it’s only in the France A team it will suit me very well!

What are you going to do with your summer in the meantime?

I am going to enjoy everything that has been done this season. I have to cut, it feels good to disconnect from all that, to go back to the countryside a little bit, to find nature, the simple things and to enjoy my loved ones. We’ll see later if I deserve to go to the French team. It also makes you want to go back to work next season. [NDLR : la reprise est prévue le 23 juin au TFC]† If we don’t cut, the body can reach saturation after a while, both mentally and physically. That’s not the goal, I’m still young!

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