By Rune Gjerulff@runegjerulff

5 facts you may not know about Benjamin Pavard

Stuttgart defender Benjamin Pavard has been linked with Arsenal and Liverpool among others, but who is he? Learn more about the promising French international here.
After a highly impressive season at Stuttgart, Benjamin Pavard is among the most sought-after young players in the world. The versatile defender has been linked with big clubs such as Arsenal, Liverpool, Tottenham, Bayern München and Borussia Dortmund. And it's easy to see why.

The 22-year-old, who is going to the World Cup with France, has the whole package, and his playstyle has even drawn comparisons to German legend Franz Beckenbauer. Pavard is quick, good in the air, technically gifted, a skilled passer of the ball and his anticipation is excellent.

Here are five facts about the promising French starlet:

1. Lack of trust at Lille
After appearing 25 times for childhood side Lille over two seasons, Pavard left the club to join Stuttgart in 2016 for a reported fee of €5 million, because he was not part of then-coach Frederic Antonetti's plans.

"In Lille, I was not given enough trust," Pavard has told AP.

2. Feels at home in Germany
Pavard has been excellent since joining Stuttgart - particularly in the past season. He was part of the Stuttgart team that won promotion to the Bundesliga in the 2016/17 season and played every Bundesliga match during the past season. The 22-year-old enjoys life in Germany where he has found the trust he was missing at Lille.

"Everything fits. The city offers a lot, the stadium is always full, and I can feel the confidence of the coach, my teammates and the board," Pavard has said in an interview with Stuttgarter Zeitung.

3. Cried tears of joy after first France call-up
When Pavard was called up for the French senior national team for the first time in November, he was having a lunch break after a German language class and didn't notice that he had missed several calls from his parents.

The Stuttgart defender, who made his international debut against Wales on November 10, called them back and cried tears of joy when they delivered the happy message to him.

"It was pure joy. I'm not hiding that I cried with my parents. All the sacrifices I've made since I was a boy are paying off today," he has told AP.

4. Versatile defender with a favourite position
Pavard can play all defensive positions, but he sees central defender as his main position and has said Mats Hummels and Sergio Ramos are his role models.

"My favourite position is in the central defense, because I have everything in front of me there," he has told Stuttgarter Zeitung.

5. In the mould of Thuram
However, French national team coach Didier Deschamps has so far used Pavard at the right-back position, and the Stuttgart defender can imagine a career in the mould of the former French international Lilian Thuram.

"For me it is not a problem. Before, there was Lilian Thuram who also played as a centre-back for his club and as a right back with the national team. I feel good as a centre-back, and I also enjoy to play on the right. So why not do the same as him?," Pavard has told

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