France boss Deschamps focusing on the present as Giroud replaces Benzema

By Sports Desk March 21, 2022

France head coach Didier Deschamps is focused on the present and not concerned by the future after calling up Olivier Giroud to replace Karim Benzema.

Giroud has not featured for Les Blues since their exit to Switzerland at Euro 2020 last June, but the 35-year-old has come back into contention after an injury to Benzema.

The Milan striker sits just five goals behind Thierry Henry in France's all-time scoring charts after netting 46 times in 110 games.

Though Giroud was omitted from Deschamps' recent squads, he now has a chance to impress in friendlies against Ivory Coast and South Africa.

Deschamps, speaking at Monday's news conference, was keen to turn the attention away from Giroud as he insisted the former Arsenal and Chelsea forward does not have to prove himself.

"The most important thing for me is to be consistent and fair in my speech with the players, whether it's Olivier or others," he told reporters.

"Olivier is going to join us, and he doesn't have to do more or less. He was part of this team that was successful, it was also without him, and he remains selectable, as I have always said. 

"But don't ask me about the future. Of course, his presence is linked to Karim's injury. But there is no particular attention around him, he is part of the group."

Asked whether Benzema and Giroud could feature together down the line, Deschamps added: "It's not a question of relationships, there's competition, too, but it goes further than that. 

"History shows it is always a great difficulty for a player who has a status that he deserved to have, to no longer have this status. 

"It is very difficult to live with, not to say impossible. But it's human and it's not specific to Olivier. It's more complex. I did not call him to tell him that he will have 30 per cent playing time and see how he reacts. 

"He can accept anything, it's only ten days, but again, I don't want to make a case apart, and there have been quite a few in this case. 

"A player who has status needs to have an important role. I am convinced of that."

Arsenal's William Saliba, who is currently on loan at Marseille, has also been handed a late call-up after Bayern Munich's Benjamin Pavard withdrew.

"We have been following him for a while, I talk a lot with Sylvain Ripoll [France's Under-21 coach], who has known since the weekend, just in case," Deschamps said of Saliba. 

"The schedule meant that William was playing last night [Sunday], so I waited until after the match to make his call-up official, but what he does in the Under-23s and for his club, in a system that is not identical but similar, is interesting. 

"He is a good defender, fast, who has a good heading game, and exudes a lot of calmness in his play."

Deschamps stressed that France's upcoming friendlies are important, while he was glad to not be in the position of Portugal and Italy, who will battle for World Cup qualification in the play-offs.

"I know that many players have had very important matches before and will have very important ones after," he added. "It will be full in Marseille, full in Lille, and it is our duty to be efficient. 

"You think that these two friendlies have little value, but I know very well that we have to win them, because otherwise, they will increase in importance. 

"And I prefer to be in my place than in the place of my Italian and Portuguese counterparts. I am happy to be among the 14 nations that have already qualified [for Qatar]!"

Related items

  • Man Utd's Malacia agreement revealed by Feyenoord director Man Utd's Malacia agreement revealed by Feyenoord director

    Manchester United have agreed a deal to sign Feyenoord left-back Tyrell Malacia, according to the Eredivisie club's director Frank Arneson.

    Lyon had been linked with a move for Malacia, but United have reportedly agreed to a deal worth an initial £12.9million (€15m).

    Having come through the youth system, Malacia has played 136 games for Feyenoord, making 50 appearances in all competitions last season as Arne Slot's men finished third in the Eredivisie and reached the Europa Conference League final.

    Speaking to 1908NL, Arneson said all that remains is for the 22-year-old to agree personal terms with the Red Devils, revealing: "The agreement with Man United is there. We are now waiting for Tyrell.

    "If Malacia says yes, then a transfer to Manchester United is imminent."

    Malacia made his senior debut for the Netherlands last September and has since won a further four caps for his country.

    Only two Feyenoord players made more appearances in all competitions than Malacia last term, winger Bryan Linssen (53) and midfielder Orkun Kokcu (51), with the young full-back featuring in 17 of their Europa Conference League contests.

    The addition of Malacia would represent new United boss Erik ten Hag's first move to strengthen a defence which conceded 57 Premier League goals last campaign.

    United returned for pre-season training this week as they build towards Ten Hag's first competitive match in charge, a Premier League trip to Brighton and Hove Albion on August 7.

  • Newcastle confirm agreement to sign Botman Newcastle confirm agreement to sign Botman

    Sven Botman is belatedly leaving Lille to sign for Newcastle United in a reported £31.8million (€37m) transfer.

    Botman had been linked to both big-spending Premier League side Newcastle and Serie A champions Milan since January.

    The defender discussed "very concrete" interest from both clubs, describing a "good project" at Newcastle, only for Lille to reject the Magpies' advances in the middle of the season.

    Newcastle and Milan appeared to be frustrated at the start of this transfer window, too, with Lille demanding a significant fee for a player determined to leave Ligue 1.

    But Eddie Howe's Newcastle forged a breakthrough late last week and agreed a deal that has now been confirmed following a medical on Tyneside.

    The Magpies on Tuesday revealed that the formalities of the transfer are set to be concluded this week, with the 22-year then officially becoming a Newcastle player.

    Botman, a former Ajax academy graduate who won Ligue 1 in his first season in France, has agreed terms to put pen to paper a five-year contract at St James' Park.

    Following the signings of Matt Targett and Nick Pope, Botman would appear likely to come into Howe's team ahead of Dan Burn, another powerful, left-footed centre-back who was signed in his stead in January.

    Burn won 4.3 aerial duels and made 6.1 clearances and 0.9 blocks per 90 minutes after signing from Brighton and Hove Albion for £13m, beating Botman's marks for the 2021-22 season in each metric (2.3, 4.5, 0.8).

    But Howe will hope Botman can be key to Newcastle's development into a more possession-focused side; he completed 53.4 passes per 90 with Lille to Burn's 28.6 at Newcastle.

  • Minamino ends Liverpool stay with Monaco switch Minamino ends Liverpool stay with Monaco switch

    Takumi Minamino has brought his Liverpool stay to an end by completing a move to Monaco.

    The Japan international signed for the Reds in January 2020 but was unable to establish himself as a first-team regular.

    During a two-and-a-half-year period at Anfield, Minamino scored 14 goals in 55 appearances.

    He helped Liverpool win their first Premier League title in the 2019-20 season, before playing his part in an FA Cup and EFL Cup double in his final campaign on Merseyside.

    While the fee for his move to France has not been confirmed by either club, Monaco are reported to be paying €15million (£12.9m), with an extra €3m (£2.6m) potentially forked out in bonuses.

    Minamino has signed a four-year deal with Monaco, who finished third in Ligue 1 last term.

     

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.