Flippes: "I use the Champions League experience at the EURO"
She might not be the face that you instantly think of when the words Metz Handball or French national team are uttered, but Laura Flippes has now become one of the players that none of those two teams can do without.
While she will celebrate her 24th birthday in a few days, she has become the stalwart on the right wing position for both teams. She has been one in Metz for some seasons now, but to see her become one with France is a completely new thing.
Already in the first four games at the Women's EHF EURO she scored 11 goals from 12 shots.
. @MetzHandball Laura Flippes is instrumental not only for her club in the Women's #ehfcl but right now impresses with her national team @frahandball also at the #ehfeuro2018 in France. 🇫🇷— EHF Champions League (@ehfcl) December 7, 2018
1️⃣2️⃣ shots - 1️⃣1️⃣ goals, not too bad, is it? pic.twitter.com/T4vp3yV9LE
"I definitely see the change since the beginning of the season. The other right winger (Jurswailly Luciano, ed.) is pregnant so I play a lot more. And the more you play, the more confident you get," explains Flippes.
This season, Laura Flippes has already scored 26 goals across the six games she played in the Women’s EHF Champions League.
Metz finished top of their Group and are now moving to the main round, hoping to qualify for the quarter-finals for the third straight time.
"You get better playing the Champions League as you’re playing against the best players and goalkeepers every weekend. For a young player like me, to play a lot in this competition is an excellent way to improve," says the right winger.
Having delivered in the first half of the season with her club, Laura Flippes is currently playing the EURO at home with France, something that she might not have imagined a couple of years ago.
"I used to say that I’d never get the right to play with France. I said the right to because I didn’t trust myself, but now things are different," she says, before explaining what it means to her to play such a competition at home.
"This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, it’s amazing to play in front of your friends and everybody. I take that as a reward, I’ve worked all my career to be there, so I’m going to make the most of it."
For such a young player to have so much responsibilities might be a little bit frightening. Especially since Blandine Dancette, the usual number one on the wing, missed the EURO due to a foot injury.
So France are left with Flippes and Brest Bretagne Handball left-hander Pauline Coatanea to hold the shop on the right wing. "I’m kind of sad that Blandine is not here, since I’ve got a really good relationship with her," she says, before giving her recipe to avoid pressure a home competition.
"I stay in my bubble, I try not to listen to anything that’s around us. The media might be a little bit more present than usually, but that is not going to distract me. Sometimes, I don’t even hear the fans cheering during the game, as I’m so focused on what’s going on on the court," says the right-winger.
To listen to anyone but herself and her partners is something Laura Flippes has learnt to do over her years in the Champions League.
"I used to be nervous about games when I started. Champions League, big games…But now that I play the competition every season for some quite time, it just feels normal. Playing the Champions League has taught me how to turn pressure into a friend," she concludes.Author: Kevin Domas / br