Man City star Aymeric Laporte reacts to successful Spain debut

Aymeric Laporte has revealed he asked to be substituted as a precaution on his international debut but was privileged to play for Spain.

Manchester City defender Laporte officially switched his allegiance from France to Spain ahead of this summer’s European Championships after years of being snubbed by Les Bleus manager Didier Deschamps.

The 27-year-old has endured a difficult season after falling behind John Stones and Ruben Dias in Pep Guardiola’s pecking order, but now looks set to take part in his first major international tournament.

Laporte made his debut for Spain, who he qualifies to play for through his Basque great-grandparents, on Friday in a Euro 2020 warm-up match against rivals Portugal.

He enjoyed a solid debut lining up alongside Villarreal’s Pau Torres and kept the attacking might of Cristiano Ronaldo, Joao Felix, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota at bay as the game finished goalless.

One particular highlight was an inch-perfect slide tackle he made to steal the ball off Liverpool forward Jota, before then getting back on his feet, dribbling past a challenger with ease and then clipping a lofted ball forwards.

Laporte played for 79 minutes before he asked to be substituted due to fatigue after starting his first game since May 8 and thanked Spain manager Luis Enrique for picking him.

“It is a privilege to have played my game with Spain,” he told Teledeporte. “I am very happy and grateful to Luis Enrique for trusting me, I hope it’s the first of many more.”

“I hadn’t played for a long time, I asked for the change as a precaution.”

After the match, Laporte also tweeted: “Very happy with my debut with the @SeFutbol. An honour to play with this shirt. We continue working!”