The manager of Les Bleus is reluctant to use the experienced striker unless he can build up his “rhythm” again at club level
Olivier Giroud has been given a warning over his lack of playing time at Chelsea by France head coach Didier Deschamps.
Giroud picked up his 103rd cap for France during a friendly clash against Finland last week, but failed to add to his tally of 42 international goals as Deschamps’ men suffered a surprise 2-0 defeat.
The Chelsea forward was subsequently replaced in the starting XI by Manchester United star Anthony Martial for a UEFA Nations’ League meeting with Portugal on Saturday, which ended in a 1-0 win for Les Bleus.
N’Golo Kante grabbed the all-important winner in Lisbon as France booked their place in next year’s finals, but might have wrapped up a more comfortable victory had Martial not seen a series of chances kept out by Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio.
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However, Deschamps admitted post-match that he favours Martial ahead of Giroud at the moment due to the fact he remains a regular a club level, with increased competition for places at Stamford Bridge keeping an experienced figure on the sidelines.
The 52-year-old manager seemed to suggest that Giroud, who has only featured in three Premier League games for Chelsea this season, may have to seek a transfer in the new year to boost his chances of selection at international level after seeing his side pick up a crucial victory.
“I make the choices that seem best to me for the France team,” Deschamps told a press conference when asked about picking Martial ahead of Giroud.
“With Anthony, who is a good player, it allows us to have a little more depth. Compared to Olivier, he has to be impacted, first of all with the situation he has at his club, knowing that he has a large frame and that he needs rhythm, it’s hard.
“That’s not why I want to lose him, it’s complicated, we’ll talk, but obviously he has every interest in it not lasting, for him, to remain competitive, but we must not forget what he did with us and what he is still able to do.
“Anthony has a different profile but one that gives options. Anthony, today, is more fulfilled and in better physical and psychological conditions, obviously.”
Both Giroud and Martial will be back in contention for a place in Deschamps’ line up when France wrap up their League A, Group 3 campaign with a home fixture against Sweden on Tuesday.
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