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Liverpool defender Ibrahima Konate backs new France captain Kylian Mbappe

France head coach Didier Deschamps named Kylian Mbappe captain yesterday, and defender Ibrahima Konate believes he deserves it.

Mbappe will be the captain, while Antoine Griezmann will be the vice-captain. The decision follows the retirement of former captain Hugo Lloris.

Since Mbappe debuted in 2017, no French player has had more goal contributions for the national team. He has netted 36 goals and assisted 16 in 66 games.

The 24-year-old displayed his leadership qualities at the 2022 World Cup. He was constantly talking to the group and encouraging them.

He delivered on the pitch, netting eight goals including a hat-trick in the final. He won the Silver Ball and Golden Boot.

Liverpool centre-back Konate believes Mbappe deserves the armband for his achievements and behaviour.

Konate told Eurosport: “He deserves it with what he has done at the World Cup and with Paris Saint-Germain as well. He is a very good leader, on and off the pitch.

The defender also addressed rumours painting the former AS Monaco star as a petulant and arrogant figure.

“He is a young lad who loves to laugh and have fun, nothing more,” he added. “He is a very good person.

“Some may think he is arrogant. It is something I was asked about in my club and elsewhere. To them, I say Are you crazy? He is so nice. Of course, he will be a good skipper.”

Konate dismissed any notion that vice-captain Griezmann is angry at the snub by Deschamps. He said the Atletico Madrid man was not sulking.

Many people, including former France international Robert Pires, felt that Griezmann was more deserving of the armband.

The 32-year-old has more international caps, with only Olivier Giroud boasting more experience in the squad.

Griezmann is a popular figure within the dressing room and shares a good relationship with coach Deschamps.

However, Mbappe was selected over him and Griezmann must put his personal feelings aside as Les Bleus face the Netherlands and Ireland this week.

The games mark the beginning of France’s 2024 European Championship qualifying campaign. Les Bleus are already one of the favourites for the tournament in Germany

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