Speaking on Rothen S’Enflamme, ex-French international defender Christophe Dugarry sought to explain why Didier Deschamps must make 24-year-old attacker Kylian Mbappé the new captain of the national team in the coming days, with the role vacated by Tottenham Hotspur goalkeeper Hugo Lloris following the announcement of his international retirement 8 weeks ago.
Deschamps confirmed in a press conference on Thursday that he will be picking one new captain and one new vice-captain (the latter role was previously occupied by Raphaël Varane who also announced his international retirement following France’s appearance in the final of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar).
“He’s going to want it. You can’t go against what Mbappé is going to want. Let’s take the opposite scenario: imagine you don’t give the armband to Mbappé. What will his reaction be? I’m sure it won’t be good, that he’ll be upset, affected, that he’ll draw conclusions like “no one believes in me.” Mbappé, he’s a bit of a spoiled child, he’s going to be captain at PSG next year, he has to be at the centre of the project, of the conversation. This is not a criticism of him, he is able to live up to it. He likes that, it gives him value, he likes to be at the forefront. So giving him the armband is another step in his accomplishments. For him, it’s normal.”
“And then we can’t give it to Griezmann. Because if it’s not Mbappé it will be Griezmann. Griezmann, he’s the good friend. If you don’t give him the armband, it doesn’t matter, there’s no problem. He’s a player in the shadows, who is ready to make efforts for the team, which embodies the sense of the collective. Mbappé, he does not yet have that mentality. He is looking for titles, glory, it galvanises him. So I think it would be a mistake to upset Mbappé. He has the capacity to assume this captaincy without any problem. Aside from that, I don’t know him personally. In the dressing room, is he capable of having this role of leader, I cannot express on this issue because I do not know him personally enough. But he is a technical leader, on the pitch. Zizou who was not a big talker managed to assume this leadership like that. I think it would be a logical continuation that would do good for Mbappé, our best player.”
An announcement is expected by mid-week next week on who will be leading France going forward, with Mbappé increasingly the heavy favourite – Get French Football News exclusively revealed that the PSG attacker was the favourite to take over the captaincy from Lloris back in February.
The latest France squad currently includes three new faces in the form of Brice Samba (Lens), Khéphren Thuram (OGC Nice) and Wesley Fofana (Chelsea).
James Thorpe | GFFN