Robert Pires says it’s too early to make Monaco’s Kylian Mbappé a leader in the France side, and thinks manager Didier Deschamps will stick to Arsenal’s Olivier Giroud for now.
Alexandre Lacazette and Kylian Mbappe started France’s last game against Bulgaria, which guaranteed them a place in the 2018 World Cup. Neither was involved in the goal and Pires doesn’t believe Mbappé isn’t ready to lead the side.
“Have people have forgotten his age or what? He is only 18 years old. He has a potential to be way above the average and yes it is absolutely necessary that it plays, but from there to make him a leader? It is too much pressure on him,” he said reports the Mirror.
“Do not burn his wings. With Lacazette, you have to be patient. Defensively, he made efforts. I do not worry in the long term. But for the World Cup, Deschamps will not change much and will respect the hierarchy with Giroud before Lacazette. With Olivier, he can count on a great pro who will never pose a problem and you can rely on him.”
I think Pires is probably right to suggest that Deschamps will stick with the tried and tested method for next year’s tournament, despite the experimentation going on at the moment.
If a new system appears that suddenly makes the side look unstoppable, then maybe the French manager would consider a change, but the current setup has worked wonders so far. France have qualified for the World Cup, as mentioned, they reached the final of the 2016 European Championships, and they’ve scored relatively freely in the process.
Giroud has been a big part of France’s recent success and has formed a formidable partnership with Antoine Griezmann. Lacazette has scored tens of goals for Arsenal and Lyon over the past year, and Mbappé looks like the next big thing in football, but both have only scored one goal for France and neither have even made 15 appearances for the team.
They can still both have an impact, and should be in the squad for the tournament, but Giroud is the safer starting choice, for me.