France head coach Didier Deschamps insists Antoine Griezmann is not an irreplaceable member of his team.
The Atletico Madrid forward left the national team camp to return to Spain after suffering a foot injury in the 2-1 World Cup qualifying win over Sweden.
Deschamps agrees that Griezmann – the top scorer at Euro 2016 – has developed into a leading light for France, but he is confident that his absence from Tuesday’s friendly against Ivory Coast will give others the chance to impress.
“Nobody is irreplaceable,” he told a news conference. “Antoine is very important for us, he made himself essential to this France team. But he is not here.
“I didn’t call someone up [to replace him] because it didn’t make much sense, just two days before the game. I’ve already had some changes to make. I am confident with the 22 players available.
“I hope he will be available in the future. The team will be different without him, but even if Antoine is an important and decisive player, there are other players who will have the opportunity to prove themselves.”
A victory for France will set a new record of 14 wins in a calendar year, and defender Raphael Varane believes such a feat would underline an encouraging year for Les Bleus.
“It’s indicative of a good year for the team,” said the Real Madrid man. “It’s not a goal but it’s a like a little extra.
“It’s what we want, to finish on a positive note so it will be a little extra. But that is not at all an objective.”
Varane is relishing the prospect of playing at the Stade Bollaert-Delelis in Lens, having progressed through the youth ranks at the club before breaking into the first team in 2010.
“For me it’s a lot of emotions, it’s a return to my roots,” said the 23-year-old, who was born just 28 kilometres away in Lille. “I lived from nine until 18 in Lens, to there’ll obviously be a specific emotion.
“I’ve a lot of pride when I look back and I see the path I’ve travelled so far. I’m very happy to come back here.”
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