During the announcement of the France squad for the upcoming UEFA European Championship qualifying matches against the Netherlands and Ireland, Didier Deschamps defended his selection of Olivier Giroud (36).
During the recent Qatar World Cup, the AC Milan forward became France’s all-time leading goalscorer, beating Thierry Henry’s previous record of 51 goals for Les Bleus. After the competition, in which France lost in the final, there were questions about Giroud’s international future.
Others such as Tottenham Hotspur’s Hugo Lloris (36), France’s most-capped player of all time, retired from international duty. Griuod, however, decided to keep himself available for selection, and the former Chelsea and Arsenal forward has now been called up by Les Bleus for the two fixtures later this month.
Despite conceding that Giroud is certainly one of the more experienced players in the France dressing room, Deschamps defended his selection during Thursday’s press conference, notably highlighting the continued presence of club teammate Zlatan Ibrahimovic (41) on the international scene. The journeyman Swedish striker received another international call-up earlier this week.
“Olivier has big experience. As long as he retains his performance levels for his club, he will remain selectable,” said Deschamps in a conference aired by L’Équipe. The Frenchman continued, “He is the age he is. He isn’t young. He brings experience. There is also the example in Italian football with Zlatan (Ibrahimovic), who is even older than Olivier (Giroud). He’s here because he remains at the highest level.”
GFFN | Luke Entwistle