What selection headaches does Didier Deschamps face ahead of France’s opening game?

With a wealth of talent in Les Bleus squad, Deschamps faces tough choices ahead of their opener against Romania on Friday.

What selection headaches does Didier Deschamps face ahead of France’s opening game?
Deschamps looks on in training | Photo: Guardian

Didier Deschamps has a delightful dilemma facing him which needs resolving before France open the tournament tomorrow

'Who should feature in his starting XI'.

Les Bleus have a quality in the form of both youth and experience going into this tournament and the problem for Deschamps is who to choose to strike the perfect balance within the squad. Not only this but Deschamps also faces the problem of juggling all his stars qualities and aiming to fit as many into the team as possible.

So who is a definite choice?

France’s defence more or less picks itself. In goal there is no other than their captain, Hugo Lloris. The ‘keeper is hardly challenged for his spot in goal and is probably one of the first names on the team sheet.

Bacary Sagna and Patrice Evra are also likely to be selected in the full-back positions. Both have a wealth of experience, which will be valuable to the French team, which contains a lot of younger stars. Like Lloris, neither have anyone particularly challenging for their spot in the team. All three have started in France’s last three warm up matches, and so suggesting that they are likely starters.

France’s centre-back partnership however looked likely to be Laurent Koscielny and Rapheal Varane, until the latter picked up an injury. Adil Rami has been called up to the squad and has played in the last two games since slotting in for Varane, whilst Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho was banned at the time for a failed drug test.

Koscielny and Giroud to start? | Photo: Getty
Koscielny and Giroud to start? | Photo: Getty

However some have suggested that Eliaquim Mangala would be better suited.

Who is causing the problems?

A big problem for Deschamps now is his midfield. There is no denying that France have an extraordinary amount of talent in this area.

One way Deschamps has combated this is by playing a 4-3-3 formation which will allow as many talents to thrive as possible, but there are still decisions that have to be made about which players get the chance.

Surprise stars such as Kingsley Coman, Dimitri Payet and N’Golo Kante will all be pushing to find their place in the host nations team, yet is Deschamps ready to drop fan favourites and more trusted players to slot them in?

In the last two friendly games against Scotland and the Cameroon, Coman, Olivier Giroud and Payet started as the front three. While this looks like a strong attacking line-up, would Deschamps be willing to drop Champions League finalist Antoine Griezmann? Many would think this would be an obscene decision. However, Giroud who will likely play as a lone striker, acts as a target man for France and so will probably start in majority of France’s games. He’s also scored three times in France’s last two games.

Coman, who is only 19-years-old, is an explosive winger and has been labelled one of the ‘ones to watch’ by many pundits. The youngster has had a great season for Bayern Munich and registered the most assists in the Champions League this season. He has also been credited as the player who sparked Bayern’s thrilling comeback against Juventus earlier in the season.

Payet, however has lit up West Ham’s season in the Premier League after joining last summer. Best known for his stunning free kicks and quick feet, he will be influential in any team he starts in.

Manchester United’s Anthony Martial is also one to consider in this attacking three. The 20-year-old has looked threatening for the Red Devils all season and his pace and power on the flanks would also contribute a lot to this French team.

Will Pogba be the star man? | Photo: Getty
Will Pogba be the star man? | Photo: Getty

Deschamps also has a choice to make about the players that will sit behind the front three. Superstar Paul Pogba is a shoe-in to start having featured in all of France’s last five games. Competition for the other two places is rife with the likes of Blaise Matuidi and Kante.

France face Romania tomorrow night at 20:00 as they open the tournament. They will also face Albania and Switzerland in their group