Deschamps confident Pogba will make World Cup, dismisses Zidane talk

By Sports Desk August 08, 2022

Didier Deschamps remains confident Paul Pogba will be fit to play a big role for France at the World Cup despite missing the start of the season through injury.

Pogba sustained a knee problem in pre-season after returning to Juventus from Manchester United on a free transfer.

There were early suggestions surgery could see the World Cup winner miss Qatar 2022, but he has opted instead for therapy that aims to ensure a far swifter return.

Pogba is set to again be paired with N'Golo Kante in the France midfield in November, although the Chelsea man has not been without his own injury issues in recent seasons.

"We're talking about players who are in high demand – two players who have a big experience, leaders," Deschamps told Le Parisien of the duo.

"It is important that they are there, but we are never safe – hence the need to prepare younger players.

"I am obviously in contact with Paul. His participation in the World Cup, today, is not questioned."

Antoine Griezmann is another player still seen as key to Deschamps' plans, despite scoring only three goals in LaLiga last season.

"He's not a robot. Obviously the head controls the legs," Deschamps explained. "But every player encounters, sooner or later, a period of playing less well.

"This translates, then, into a loss of confidence.

"Antoine has had high-intensity seasons. Before his physical issue at the beginning of the year [a thigh injury], he had always been spared from injuries during his career.

"A few months earlier, he had changed clubs. External elements may also have impacted it.

"I know him well. He has a big mind. He needed to regenerate and will do everything to return to his best level. He represents a plus for the France team."

For now the focus is on getting France in the best condition heading into the World Cup, even as former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane continues to be linked to Deschamps' job.

The France boss, for his part, is not worried, saying: "I've always put the France team above me, above everything.

"Today, the place is not free, since I occupy it with my staff. Afterwards, everyone has the freedom to say what he wants and how he wants. On me, it has no impact.

"The interest, today, for the players and the whole squad, is to be efficient at the World Cup. Anything that can defeat this common goal is not necessarily a good thing."

Related items

  • Inter lose Brozovic due to thigh injury Inter lose Brozovic due to thigh injury

    Inter midfielder Marcelo Brozovic is facing a spell on the sidelines after suffering a thigh injury during Croatia's win over Austria.

    Brozovic was withdrawn just 18 minutes into the 3-1 Nations League victory at Ernst Happel Stadion on Sunday.

    The Croatian Football Federation on Monday confirmed the 29-year-old sustained a partial rupture of his left thigh and is expected to be out for several weeks.

    A statement from the Federation said: "The Croatian national team midfielder, Marcelo Brozovic, underwent an MRI examination today at the Special Hospital of St. Katarina, after exiting due to an injury in the match against Austria.

    "The results of the MRI showed a partial tear in the left thigh flexor, so Brozovic is expected to rest for several weeks.

    "Further treatment will be taken in charged by the competent Inter doctors, who will also provide a precise recovery prognosis, and the medical service of the Croatian national team will be in constant contact with them."

    The loss of Brozovic is a blow for Inter head coach Simone Inzaghi ahead as the Nerazzurri prepare to return to Serie A action against Roma on Saturday, before taking on Barcelona in the Champions League next week.

    Victory for Croatia over Austria sealed top spot in Group A1 and a place in the Nations League finals.

  • Portugal 'cannot face more pressure' ahead of Nations League clash with Spain, says Santos Portugal 'cannot face more pressure' ahead of Nations League clash with Spain, says Santos

    Portugal boss Fernando Santos says his players cannot face any more pressure than they already weather, ahead of their Nations League crunch clash with Spain.

    The Euro 2016 winners will play their neighbours in their last game in Group A2, with a two-point cushion ahead of Luis Enrique's side at the summit.

    It means the winner will progress through to next year's finals, though a draw in Braga would be enough for the hosts to edge La Roja.

    Ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup later this year, it presents a suitable high-pressure test for Santos and his side – but the 67-year-old says there can be no further weight upon what his squad already have to deal with.

    "Three days ago, Portugal had to win the next two games because Spain would win their first," he said at Monday's pre-match news conference.

    "But even a draw would have been enough to come to the final match alive. That's absolutely normal. I just try to take this pressure out of my players. If they do what we have to do, we are closer to victory.

    "Do you think we can have more pressure than we have already? These players have pressure everywhere they go. They always play to win, to be champions. We always play to win, we demand it.

    "We can't have more pressure than that, right? That means we know how to deal with pressure, as we have been earning positive results."

    Portugal leapfrogged Spain to top spot on Saturday after the former picked up a handy 4-0 win over the Czech Republic, while the latter slumped to a 2-1 defeat against Switzerland.

    Santos is nevertheless anticipating a tough challenge, regardless of result, adding: "I expect a Spain just like they always are. They don't change a thing.

    "Everyone knows Spain. They've played the same way for 20 years. It's a team of possession, pressure, one that reacts well to the loss of the ball. They have a clear matrix in the way they play.

    "We don't have to be worried about Spain but we have to respect them, as we respect all opponents. We have to be focused on ourselves."

  • Maldini confident Leao wants Milan renewal Maldini confident Leao wants Milan renewal

    Milan technical director Paolo Maldini is confident Rafael Leao wants to sign a new contract with the Serie A champions.

    Leao joined Milan three years ago in a €35million deal that reportedly also includes a 20 per cent sell-on clause.

    He made only 12 Serie A starts in his first season, but that increased to 22 the following campaign and then reached 31 last term as Milan won the title.

    Leao played a crucial role in Milan winning a first Scudetto since 2011, scoring 11 goals and setting up another eight – his 19 goal involvements was five more than anyone else for the Rossoneri, while only Theo Hernandez (51) laid on more chances than the Portugal international (45).

    The forward's improved productivity has unsurprisingly seen links to other clubs emerge, with Chelsea reportedly keen on him.

    But Maldini is optimistic about extending Leao's contract beyond its current expiry in 2024, despite a dispute with former club Sporting CP – whom the player reportedly owes €16.5m after unilaterally terminating his contract in 2018 – threatening to cause a distraction.

     

    "Leao has a difficult situation deriving from the move to Lille, this is affecting him a lot and has meant that our dialogues have often changed," Maldini told Gazzetta dello Sport.

    "But Rafa is grateful to us, and I'm interested in what he tells us. He understands that the path in the coming years must be at Milan, he understands it and tells us [this].

    "Then there will be a negotiation, but we know that strong players must be paid their worth. If the team continues to grow, Leao will have everything to compete to the fullest.

    "But of course, there is no non-transferable [player] for all the teams in the world."

    Maldini was then asked if he was confident some form of arrangement could be found with Leao and Sporting, as the player reportedly wants Milan to help fund any future payments to the Primeira Liga side.

    "Yes, with [Leao's contract], yes [but] we have nothing to do with Sporting."

    Leao has already scored three times in six Serie A appearances this season, with Milan sitting fifth and three points off the summit after seven matches.

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.