France head coach Didier Deschamps has explained his decision to hand Kylian Mbappe the captaincy armband ahead of other aspirants, including Antoine Griezmann.
Deschamps’ decision came after former number-one goalkeeper Hugo Lloris announced his retirement from international football.
Mbappe is no stranger to leadership responsibilities as he almost single-handedly shouldered the expectations of the entire nation in the 2022 World Cup tournament.
Despite the host of senior players in the squad, Mbappe was one of the leading figures in the Les Bleus team that came agonisingly close to defending their crown in Qatar.
The 24-year-old has also become the assistant captain to Marquinhos at Paris Saint-Germain and has been wearing the armband in the absence of the Brazilian centre-back.
Despite having several senior players in the squad, including Atletico Madrid’s Griezmann and top scorer Olivier Giroud, Deschamps entrusted the armband responsibilities to Mbappe.
The 54-year-old tactician stood by his decision ahead of his side’s European Championship qualifier meeting with the Netherlands, insisting Mbappe needs no advice to lead the French camp to success.
“Being captain of the France team is a responsibility,” Deschamps told reporters (via RMC Sports).
“But Kylian, when he is on the pitch, he thinks about what he has to do on the pitch. It comes naturally. There is no advice to give it to him, Kylian knows.”
Mbappe has grown into a talismanic figure for Les Bleus, and his performance at the previous World Cup campaign shows he is a beacon of further success for the national side.
The former AS Monaco prodigy finished the tournament as the top scorer with eight goals.
He also put himself just four short of the all-time World Cup scoring record of 16 goals held by former Germany international striker Miroslav Klose – a record he is likely to surpass at his current scoring rate.
Mbappe will once again be a central figure when France take on the Dutch national team before tackling Ireland in the second fixture.
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