At France’s press conference this afternoon, Deschamps was notably asked if, like his former teammate Marcel Desailly has asserted, the center-back partnership of Dayot Upamecano (24) and Ibrahima Konaté (23) could go on to become the best Les Bleus have ever had.
In the wake of Raphaël Varane’s (29) shock international retirement, the Bayern Munich and Liverpool defenders, who are close friends since their time together at Leipzig, look to be one step ahead of the many young and talented center-backs at Deschamps’ disposal.
The national team manager pointed ou that a center-back’s performance can heavily depend on the players around him. Nevertheless, he assessed that, even if Upamecano and Konaté have played a lot of games together, “over time there is always room for improvement“. “They are young lads who play at the highest level with their club,” Deschamps’ press conference reported on by RMC Sport. “They were at the World Cup, even if Dayot played more than ‘Ibou’. They have a lot of qualities and that needs to be confirmed first, before comparing them to other players. They have to maintain this level of performance over time.“
Bar the Bayern man’s handball that led to Memphis Depay’s late penalty, Konaté and Upamecano were near-flawless against The Netherlands on Friday, and they are expected to start against Ireland tomorrow night.
GFFN | Bastien Cheval
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