“He’s calm, poised and always in complete control. Together, these qualities are what make a good defender.” The words of Marius Tresor, the legendary Bordeaux and France defender, referring to the player now following in his footsteps, Marc Planus. Newly called up to the French 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa™ squad despite never having been previously included in a senior pool, Planus is no precocious youngster. At 28, he is almost part of the furniture at Bordeaux, his home-town team, and the club at which he originally learned his trade.
As well as possessing the requisite leadership abilities to marshal Les Girondins’ defence, Planus also has his head firmly planted on his shoulders, as his decision to delay his entry into professional football in favour of sitting high school exams proves. Since starting out in Ligue 1 in November 2002, he continued to make good progress every season, to the point where he began to be rightly regarded as one of the best defenders in France. This status was cemented during the 2008/09 season when, under the command of Laurent Blanc, himself an expert in the art of defending, Planus and his troops captured the French Championship and League Cup. One year later, many onlookers argued that it was no coincidence that Bordeaux, after a tremendous early run, lost their way in the league at just about the same time that Planus was sidelined through injury.
Planus’ positional sense, clearances, commitment and tackling skills have persuaded France coach Raymond Domenech that he is ready for the world stage. It will not be the first time the two have worked together, Planus having been selected by Domenech to play for France’s U-21 side in 2003. Now, when he was least expecting it, and brought about by the uncertainty surrounding the eventual participation of William Gallas, Planus’ time appears to have finally arrived.