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Denis Genreau, an Australian in the Pink City / France / Toulouse / November 10, 2021 /

Opposed to Saudi Arabia this Thursday morning in its quest to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, Australia could rely on a young midfielder expatriated to the land of kangaroos from an early age: Denis Genreau. Finding of the Toulouse transfer window this summer, the young man, who has a selection with the Socceroosis determined to make a name for himself in the country where he was born.


Patty Mills, Ashleigh Barty, Cameron McEvoy, Ariarne Titmus, Rohan Dennis… As with every Olympics, the Australian delegation that headed to Tokyo this summer had its share of stars in a number of disciplines. And among them, a young footballer born in France and rather unknown to the general public, but determined to shine, while the Socceroos hadn’t seen London or Rio. Her name ? Denis Genreau. “With Covid, we weren’t in the village, so we didn’t have the full Olympic experience. The most beautiful thing was perhaps to qualifyretraces the interested party, who nevertheless seized the opportunity to measure himself at the highest level. Against Spain, I had to make an individual marking on Pedri. That was difficult, he really impressed me. » The highlight of a particularly busy summer for the young Australian who, after discovering Asia, set foot on the Old Continent, joining the TFC in stride.

Australia here we come

A world that was not yet unknown to him, since his roots are there. “My parents are French. They went to Australia for their honeymoon 30 years ago, they visited Queensland, Melbourne, Sydney, they went to see the Great Barrier Reeflists the person concerned. They loved it, so they decided to move there when I was two. They love nature and wide open spaces and there aren’t many of them in Paris. » Marc and Sophie Genreau, employees in the banking and insurance sector, have indeed decided to leave to make their life on the country-continent, with their small family in the luggage.

What is this fuss!

A double culture assumed for those who regularly returned to France to see the rest of their family during their childhood. “I don’t really remember France. For me, growing up in Australia was normal, I had school and all my friends. The only thing different from other children is that our parents forced me and my sister to speak French at homehe recalls. I was really lucky, it is thanks to them that I am bilingual. » And that he now dreams of competing in a World Cup wearing the yellow and green jersey, after seeing FIFA authorize him to play for the country in which he grew up in November 2017.

European football and surfing trips

Imbued with southern traditions, the young man is nevertheless passionate about football. “In Australia, there are a lot of sports, from rugby to cricket… I did a little basketball and Australian football at school, but outside I only played footballhe assures. When we went to the beach, to the park or things like that, my father always brought a soccer ball. » A father who introduced him to European games. “I have always loved Barça. He also showed me a lot of videos of Saint-Étienne from a long time ago and he loved Ajax. He showed me the 1998 France team, we watched together when they went to the final in 2006. When I was young, we woke up early in the morning to watch the European matches. »

“My father showed me the 1998 France team, we watched together when they went to the final in 2006. When I was young, we woke up early in the morning to watch the European matches. » Denis Genreau

When he’s not on the ground testing the leather, Denis Genreau likes to take advantage of his environment to get away from it all. “We often went surfing togethertestifies his former teammate at MacArthur FC, Loïc Puyo. He lived in the south of Sydney, we both drove quite a bit to go to outlying spots outside the city. He wasn’t a bad surfer. We shared a lot of things there in Australia, it will remain excellent memories. »

A Socceroo in the country of the oval

A pure product of the Melbourne City training center, Genreau failed to join Europe and Clermont Foot in 2019, following a loan to Zwolle. “He asked me a lot of questions about how football was in Francecontinues Loïc Puyo, whose advice seems to have borne fruit. I told him that he had his place in a big Ligue 2 club. And it was finally Toulouse who won the day this summer, making him the first Australian in the club’s history, in a city that is more accustomed to seeing Wallabies fans of the oval ball. “There are other Australians who play at Stade Toulousain, right? » says Genreau, visibly unfamiliar with the diaspora aussie. They are four to be precise: Zack Holmes, the twins Richie and Rory Arnold, as well as Emmanuel Meafou. The occasion of a wink from the club when signing.

He prefers to express himself with the ball, preferably in midfield. “I think I’m a box to box, more of an 8. I like being part of the build and being involved in the offensive movement. Making the last pass is one of the parts of my game that I enjoy the most.” , describes the Verratti of Téf’. All thanks to an above-average technique. “I immediately saw that it was one of the only ones to have a European stylestill assures Puyo. He manages to run a lot with high intensity runs. » Now all that remains is to win in the Pink City, with perhaps the chance of one day becoming the first Australian to set foot on Ligue 1 lawns since Mile Sterjovski’s time in Lille, at the dawn of the 2000s. that on the other side of the globe, his family has not finished getting up at dawn to follow the exploits of the young expatriate.

By Tom Binet
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