Brice Samba on France national team call-up: “I always believed I could do it.”

In an interview published in today’s L’Équipe, Lens goalkeeper Brice Samba has recounted the moment he found out he had received his first call-up to the French national team, announced by Didier Deschamps last Thursday. 

In the wake of the international retirements of Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda, the former Nottingham Forest man was called up alongside Milan’s Mike Maignan and West Ham shot-stopper Alphonse Areola to fight for the now-vacant number one spot.

The 28-year-old Samba has been one of the key players in the Artois team’s high-flying campaign so far – they currently sit in third place, nine off league leaders PSG, who they beat at the turn of the year. For the former Le Havre and Marseille prospect, a call-up to the national team is the latest step in what’s been an unusual career path so far:

“There’s a lot of pride. I tried to experience it via Facetime with my wife, but my teammates jumped on me [laughs]. I understood what it meant when I saw my father’s reaction afterwards. He’s a reserved person, but in that moment he let it all out. In his eyes, I understood that I’d achieved something big.”

“Being among the 23 best players in your country is crazy. But then my career path has been a bit crazy too! Not everyone would be able to get back up after what I’ve been through. Who would have thought four years ago that I’d end up in the France squad? It might seem crazy but I’ve always believed I could do it.”

“I have a lot of faith in God and faith in my ability. I’m going to try and give myself the means to .experience these kinds of moments again. This isn’t the finish line, it’s another step. I’m here to help, to work hard. I’m going to make the most of it on Monday. Mike, Alphonse and I crossed paths many times as young players, it’ll be great to talk about our stories from that time.”

A rejuvenated Les Bleus team take on The Netherlands on Friday at the Stade de France, before heading out to Dublin three days later to face Ireland, for the first two games of their Euro 2024 qualifying campaign.

GFFN | Raphaël Jucobin 

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