Younes Belhanda thinks Olivier Giroud is one of the best forwards around in his role, and that there’s no target man better than him.

Olivier Giroud has taken up a secondary role to Alexandre Lacazette in the Gunners’ strike-force so far this season, ever since Lacazette’s move to North London for a club record fee early in the summer. As a result there have been questions about Giroud’s future, first whether he would stay at Arsenal, which he did, and now whether he’ll continue to be picked for the French national team.

In response to the latter question, Belhanda told RMC Sport (via “For me, Olivier is one of the best forwards in his role. He’s someone who keeps the ball up really well, who knows how to make his number 10 or his wingers play because he has a target man game few strikers have.

“There isn’t a striker in the world who’s better than him as a target man. Especially with the France team, he scores, so you can’t hold anything against him. At club level, he doesn’t play that much, but when you have a player in the national team who scores and helps the team win, you can’t say anything.”

Giroud’s international record only seems to get better as time goes by.

In his last seven appearances for France he has six goals and an assist. Contributing to one goal per game in that period is more than most managers could ask for.

Overall, he’s scored 27 goals and provided nine assists in 65 appearances for Les Blues, but it’s been three years since he last scored under an average rate of one goal every two matches.

That’s without mentioning how well he works with Griezmann, as the two consistently link up well and make each other better. Lacazette and Olivier hypothetically should be able to work in the same way, but in practice we haven’t seen this very often.

Giroud clearly has the support of fellow footballers still involved in the game, which is a promising sign as he tries to keep his place in the national side. Ultimately the final decision will still be down to whether he can impress Didier Deschamps, but first they need to qualify, starting with the away match against Bulgaria on Saturday.