France coach Didier Deschamps has dismissed suggestions this could be Paul Pogba’s final World Cup.
The Manchester United midfielder himself claimed yesterday that Russia 2018 may be the last World Cup he plays due to injury or “players that outperform him”.
Deschamps doesn’t expect that to be the case, however, and tipped Pogba to be present in Qatar in 2022.
“I don’t think it will be his last World Cup, he’s only 25 years old, it’s highly probable that he will play another one,” said Deschamps, who smiled when asked if Pogba’s words displayed a new-found modesty and maturity.
“I always see the same Paul,” he added. “Over the past 15 days he is suddenly not going to change from being the joker to someone that’s very sincere.
“He’s had to go through some difficult periods but I always see the same player. He has accumulated lots of experience, he’s clear in his head, he’s happy and very motivated.”
France’s victories over Australia and Peru mean Deschamps’ men have already secured their place in the last 16, and Raphael Varane will captain a much-changed Les Bleus side against Denmark on Tuesday.
The Real Madrid centre-half is hoping for an improved performance as, despite their 100 per cent record, the 1998 champions have yet to hit top gear.
He said: “We have progressed since the start of the competition and we need to carry on.
“We want to have the same defensive strength but we know we can still hurt the opponents more. We have seen it in stages but we can do better.”
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Varane rejected claims the current squad were tired of comparisons with the winning team of 20 years ago and admitted there was one simple way of ending talk of Zinedine Zidane and Co.
“No, we are not fed up with it, they won the World Cup,” he said. “Of course, it’s difficult to compare generations but we can find inspiration in what they did together. And if we get fed up then we will have to win it so no-one can bother us about it.”
Christian Eriksen will carry the main Danish threat at the Luzhniki Stadium and Varane is a fan of the Tottenham midfielder.
“He’s a talented player,” he said. “He knows how to get his team-mates playing, he knows how to find passes, break lines, find spaces and he can destabilise a defence due to his mobility.
“It’s up to us to contain him, and give him as little space as possible.”
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