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Deschamps focusing on the present as Giroud replaces Benzema

France head coach Didier Deschamps is focused on the present and not concerned by the future after calling up Olivier Giroud to replace Karim Benzema.

Giroud has not featured for Les Blues since their exit to Switzerland at Euro 2020 last June, but the 35-year-old has come back into contention after an injury to Benzema.

Deschamps told reporters:

“The most important thing for me is to be consistent and fair in my speech with the players, whether Olivier or others.

“Olivier will join us, and he doesn’t have to do more or less. He was part of this team that was successful, it was also without him, and he remains selectable, as I have always said.

“But don’t ask me about the future. Of course, his presence is linked to Karim’s injury. But there is no particular attention around him. He is part of the group.”

Asked whether Benzema and Giroud could feature together down the line, Deschamps added:

“It’s not a question of relationships, there’s competition, too, but it goes further.

“History shows it is always a great difficulty for a player who has a status that he deserved to have, to no longer have this status.

“It is challenging to live with, not to say impossible. But it’s human, and it’s not specific to Olivier. It’s more complex. I did not call him to tell him that he would have 30 per cent playing time and see how he reacted.

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“He can accept anything, it’s only ten days, but I don’t want to make a case apart again.

“And there have been quite a few in this case.

“A player who has status needs to have an important role. I am convinced of that.”

Arsenal’s William Saliba, who is currently on loan at Marseille, has also been handed a late call-up after Bayern Munich’s Benjamin Pavard withdrew.

“We have been following him for a while. I talk a lot with Sylvain Ripoll [France’s Under-21 coach], who has known since the weekend, just in case,” Deschamps said of Saliba.

“The schedule meant that William was playing last night [Sunday], so I waited until after the match to make his call-up official, but what he does in the Under-23s and for his club, in a not identical system similar, is fascinating.

“He is a good defender, fast, has a good heading game, and exudes a lot of calmness in his play.”

Likewise, for more football news like this, click here.

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