Europe 1 with AFP 19:50 p.m., March 20, 2023

Three months after the 2022 World Cup in Qatar, the Blues meet again for the Euro 2024 qualifiers against the Netherlands on Friday. After the recent international retirement of captain Hugo Lloris, Didier Deschamps must choose a new captain. A difficult decision as the competition is tough...

"It will take time" to consolidate the France team with the new generation after the announcement of the international retirements of Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Raphael Varane and Karim Benzema, said Monday coach Didier Deschamps, "pumped up" before the start of qualifying for Euro 2024. The coach of the Blues must appoint a new captain for the France, a difficult choice that should be played between two players...

"It's going to become torture!" joked coach Didier Deschamps on Monday, after several reminders from journalists questioning him about the identity of the new captain of the France team, which he did not want to reveal. "I will use these first days to discuss it with the players concerned" and "there are not five," first replied the technician, orphaned by his historic captain Hugo Lloris and vice-captain Raphael Varane. A choice that could be played between Kylian Mbappé and Antoine Griezmann.

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Journalist: In what state of mind are you for this fall?

Didier Deschamps: "Inflated. All the players are smiling, as they do every first day of the rallies. We have to switch quickly, be in the thick of it, be fully focused on this qualification phase, especially with the quality of our first opponent (the Netherlands on Friday). There is never a margin at the top level, but here, it will be necessary to be efficient from the start, then to continue with Ireland. We have two high-level matches on this camp. We must ensure from the outset that we are fixed, even obsessed with this objective of qualification. Do not think that you are already qualified. We have to get back to reality, make a lot of efforts to achieve our goal."

Interviewer: Have you decided the hierarchy at the goalkeeper position?

Didier Deschamps: "The number 1 position will obviously be Mike Maignan. After that, I have to have discussions. There will be a hierarchy that will be the one of today. Will it be the same in June? This involves discussions with the three guards. But Mike will obviously have that No. 1 responsibility on this gathering. The experience? Yes of course, it is a criterion in the choice of number 2. It's a specific position anyway, I haven't been a goalkeeper. In reflection, experience is an element that can count."

Journalist: With the international retirements of Hugo Lloris, Raphaël Varane, Steve Mandanda and Karim Benzema, do you need experience?

Didier Deschamps: "Just look at the team that finished the last game against Argentina... There weren't many selections (on the field). We cannot replace people who have chained ten years, it will take time. But this does not prevent those who had less have already taken up space, the relay (...) Raphaël (Varane), no one is in his place. I'm making sure I get started. I knew him well, because he started with me. He is someone who is thoughtful and composed enough not to make a decision overnight. It's deep inside. It's not something that makes me happy. But it is not only age, there is the personal situation that can lead to this decision. I, for my part, am obliged to accept it. I respect her. There are requirements in sport and football at a very high level. It depends on how old you start, but it also depends on the things you accumulate, stress, the private situation too. The demands of the very high level bring fatigue, whether physical or psychological. Everyone is free to analyze their ability to chain or not. Each player has a path that can be different. Some continue until the age of 40 because there have been many improvements in support, in the medical field, but for others it can be complicated."