Didier Deschamps, the head coach, has declared Kylian Mbappe as the front-runner to be the next captain of France on Thursday.
Hugo Lloris’ retirement from international football means that Deschamps will need a new captain for the upcoming Euro 2024 qualifying matches against the Netherlands and the Republic of Ireland.
Following the World Cup, where France lost to Argentina in the championship game, Lloris resigned from his position as a national team player. Mbappe, the tournament’s top scorer, is regarded as possessing leadership qualities.
“There are some that I consider possible,” said Deschamps. “Kylian is one of them.
“This will go through discussions with them before I make my decision. There is a responsibility in relation to being captain, with a little more important responsibility, but I want to have this discussion internally before I make my decision.”
Deschamps cast doubt on Adrien Rabiot being in the picture to lead Les Bleus.
He said of the Juventus midfielder: “Even if he has some experience, we know him well, as it is he has a possible form of leadership. But the captaincy, I don’t know if he really wants it deep down. To let him stay as he is already will be very good.”
Deschamps left out Axel Disasi and Matteo Guendouzi as he named a 23-player group for the games at home to the Dutch on March 24 and away to the Irish on March 27.
He could hand first caps to Chelsea defender Wesley Fofana, Nice midfielder Khephren Thuram and Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba, who all earned call-ups.
📣 𝐎𝐮𝐫 𝟐𝟑-𝐦𝐚𝐧 𝐬𝐪𝐮𝐚𝐝!— French Team ⭐⭐ (@FrenchTeam) March 16, 2023
𝗗𝗶𝗱𝗶𝗲𝗿 𝗗𝗲𝘀𝗰𝗵𝗮𝗺𝗽𝘀 has called up three new Bleus for the first round of Euro 2024 qualifiers 🇫🇷#FiersdetreBleus pic.twitter.com/5dT9CP44rU
Khephren Thuram joins brother Marcus in the squad, with the sons of France great Lilian in contention to feature alongside each other in the national side.
Deschamps summoned Milan veteran Olivier Giroud, with the 36-year-old having elected not to retire from France duty after the World Cup, where he became the team’s all-time record scorer.
“As long as he maintains his level of performance with his club and remains eligible for selection, he is there,” Deschamps said.
A string of players Deschamps could have called upon are sidelined due to injury, including Ousmane Dembele, Paul Pogba, N’Golo Kante and Christopher Nkunku.
Deschamps said of Pogba and Kante: “I always remain positive and knowing NG and Paul, they will do everything to become competitive again.”
Looking at the qualification task facing France, Deschamps said: “We must not tell ourselves that we are already qualified for the Euros because we were in the final of the World Cup. We must not rest on our laurels.”
Alphonse Areola (West Ham), Mike Maignan (Milan), Brice Samba (Lens); Eduardo Camavinga (Real Madrid), Wesley Fofana (Chelsea), Theo Hernandez (Milan), Ibrahima Konate (Liverpool), Jules Kounde (Barcelona), Benjamin Pavard (Bayern Munich), William Saliba (Arsenal), Dayot Upamecano (Bayern Munich); Youssouf Fofana (Monaco), Adrien Rabiot (Juventus), Aurelien Tchouameni (Real Madrid), Khephren Thuram (Nice), Jordan Veretout (Marseille); Kingsley Coman (Bayern Munich), Moussa Diaby (Bayer Leverkusen), Olivier Giroud (Milan), Antoine Griezmann (Atletico Madrid), Randal Kolo Muani (Eintracht Frankfurt), Kylian Mbappe (Paris Saint-Germain), Marcus Thuram (Borussia Monchengladbach).