Didier Deschamps is happy to throw France’s rising stars in at the deep end as they prepare to begin their World Cup campaign on Saturday.
Having fallen at the final hurdle at Euro 2016 on home soil, losing to a late extra-time goal from Portugal, Les Bleus will hope to go one better in Russia with a squad that includes a number of fresh faces.
Ousmane Dembele and Kylian Mbappe did not feature two years ago, though the attacking duo’s lack of tournament experience did not stop them from being included in the 23-man party.
Both could feature in the Group C opener against Australia – and Deschamps has no concerns about his younger players coping under pressure.
‘It’s not a risk because those young players are there in the 23, you know that,’ he told the media.
‘Many haven’t played in a World Cup or European Championships, but if I’ve selected them then I think they’re good for the team.
‘It’s not taking risks – they are here because they have the quality to be here.’
Deschamps was a World Cup winner as a player, lifting the trophy as captain in Paris after a crushing 3-0 final win over Brazil in 1998.
France are seen as leading contenders again this year, though their manager has downplayed expectations and is only focused on getting out of a group that also includes Denmark and Peru.
‘First, we have to win the first group game. We know in recent history we only went twice in to the last 16,’ Deschamps said.
‘We know the difficulty despite what some say. We start with a lot of determination, a lot of enthusiasm, but also the necessary humility.’
France take on Australia in their opening game on Saturday, with kickoff scheduled for 12pm.
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