France coach Didier Deschamps defended striker Olivier Giroud. The coach says that the player’s efficency in front of goal still makes him a favorite for France’s squad.
With plenty of talent in attack there are some France supporters who question Giroud’s abilities. He has been France’s main offensive player since Karim Benzema was excluded from the team in late 2015. At the Euro 2016 tournament he managed to score three times, as France ended as runners-up.
Giroud hasn’t had a lot of playing for Arsenal this season. Regardless, the striker repaid Deschamps’ confidence in him by scoring twice in the 3-1 victory against Luxembourg. France remain first in their World Cup qualifying group.
“He can play tomorrow, like the other ones,” Deschamps told the press ahead of the friendly against Spain. “Olivier has not had a lot of minutes on the pitch, also because he had an injury. Even if he was in the side [at Arsenal], then the people were thinking that he was able to play, to begin the match.”
“If you’re on the bench and you don’t come in because you’re not 100 per cent, then only few people can be aware of it. But before the international break he played three games in a row. He knows that he’s had a more difficult season. But he proved on Saturday that he’s still an efficient striker. He scores goals with us, but he also gives to the players around him to change the attacking dynamic.”
Giroud continues to divide public opinion in France. Some praise his efficency, while others feel France should look for a different striker to depend on in important games. Young players like Monaco’s Kylian Mbappe and Dortmund’s Ousmane Dembele are putting pressure on Giroud with their recent performances.
The game against Luxembourg was the first time that Mbappe was part of France’s squad. The striker has enjoyed great performances for Monaco this season. Many top teams are showing their interest for the youngster. Elsewhere, Dembele played 90 minutes for France as a winger. The player made his debut last November against the Ivory Coast. Deschamps talked about Dembele at the press conference.
“Yes, it did not go well the first time,” Deschamps said of Dembele. “He was perhaps a little inhibited. He has reacted well with his club, where he gives good performances.”
“He has a running speed, he likes to dribble. He has to make the right choices but he is able to unbalance defences. This game against Luxembourg will give him confidence.”