With the Euros coming up at the end of the football season, it’s time for pundits to draw their shortlist of which players they think should be picked for the tournament. With plenty of quality to choose from, selecting just 23 will prove tricky for France manager Didier Deschamps. Here is my list of 23.
Goalkeepers – straight forward
In goal, I would keep captain Lloris who is, in my opinion, one of the best in Europe. He’s also been in fine form for Spurs (unfortunately). Mandanda is a reliable and experienced element, and Areola has shown some promises during his loan spell at Villareal. He’s one to watch for the future, so it’ll be good to give him the experience. Straight forward.
Lloris, Mandanda, Areola
Defense – short on the right
On the right, Sagna and Jallet are default choices as there are few strong options in this position. Centre back has never been a problem for France, and remains a wealthy pool of talent. Despite injuries to a few players I would’ve probably taken (Zouma, Laporte), I can’t complain with Varane, Koscielny, Sakho and Mathieu. I would start the first two.
At left back, Evra still has a lot to offer and Kurzawa is a good player too. Hopefully he’ll play more often for PSG near the end of this season, as the Parisians are still involved in lots of competitions.
Jallet, Sagna, Varane, Koscielny, Sakho, Evra, Kurzawa, Mathieu
Midfield – top of their game
There are so many players in midfield it is tricky to narrow down to 6. Of course, there are a couple of unmissable names in Matuidi and Pogba who, may be the best players in Europe in their respective roles.
I will add Kante, whose sensational season at Leicester City just cannot be overlooked and Diarra who’s been one of the only players turning up for Marseille this campaign. Cabaye and Rabiot complete the midfield, with Arsenal’s Coquelin just about missing out. His profile is just too similar to Kante and Diarra.
Matuidi, Pogba, Kante, Diarra, Rabiot, Cabaye
Attack – with or without Ribery?
The first name among the attackers right now has to be Payet, who’s been in fine form at club level and seems to be taking his confidence into international matches also. Giroud makes the cut despite his poor form, along with Griezmann.
To add a bit of unpredictability and youth, I include Bayern’s Coman and Martial both of whom have shown great quality at top clubs (is it still okay to call United a top team?). Finally, although Ribery has retired from international football a few years ago, he’s recently shown interest in coming back.
A player of his quality shouldn’t be overlooked, so I’d call him up. Failing that, Ben Arfa has been great for Nice this year so I would have him instead. Unfortunately, Benzema is kept out because his off-field antics just aren’t acceptable. Real shame.
Martial, Payet, Giroud, Griezmann, Coman, Ribery (or Ben Arfa)
My starting XI