Didier Deschamps insisted pleasing Kylian Mbappe played no part in his decision to make the Paris Saint-Germain star France captain.
Hugo Lloris’ retirement vacated the France captaincy, with Mbappe named as the new skipper earlier this week ahead of Euro 2024 qualifiers against the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.
Mbappe revealed on Thursday that Antoine Griezmann, one of France’s longest-serving players, was disappointed by the decision, though Deschamps refuted the suggestion he made the call to appease the 24-year-old, who won the Golden Boot at last year’s World Cup.
“It’s not a choice to make him happy, but because I am convinced that he has all the qualities to do so,” Deschamps said in a press conference.
“I’m not going to go into details. You know how it went chronologically. I made the decision on Monday evening. Kylian has been used to being in this group for a while.
“He won’t be alone. The most important thing is that it’s not an extra burden for Kylian.”
Indeed, Deschamps has no concerns that becoming captain will be too much responsibility for Mbappe, who has scored 31 goals in 33 games for PSG this season.
“Being captain of the France team is a responsibility, but Kylian, when he is on the pitch, he thinks about what he has to do on the pitch,” Deschamps continued.
“It comes naturally. There is no advice to give to him, Kylian knows.”
When asked if Mbappe would have to become less selfish or alter his game as captain, Deschamps added: “That a striker can create individual actions, that’s part of the role of a striker. It’s not selfishness. He doesn’t have to change.”
Lloris’ retirement has also opened an opportunity for a new goalkeeper to confirm themselves as number one.
While Alphonse Areola and Lens’ Brice Samba – one of the best-performing goalkeepers in Ligue 1 this term – have been included in Deschamps’ squad, Mike Maignan is Lloris’ heir apparent.
“Mike is used to it, he has already played [France] matches,” Deschamps said. “He cannot replace Hugo’s experience overnight.
“He has overcome his injury problems. I don’t have the slightest doubt, I have total confidence in him. He has everything to be at this level.”
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