Didier Deschamps has hailed Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante as the dream midfield duo who can lead France to Euro 2020 glory.
World Cup winners and pre-tournament favourites France will look to book their quarter-final place tonight when they take on Switzerland in Bucharest.
While France have a formidable attacking trio in Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann, it is the Premier League duo of Pogba and Kante who Deschamps was keen to talk up.
“Listen, Paul is a complete midfielder,” said Deschamps. “He has so many qualities – he can pass vertically, diagonally, all of this is part of his game.
“Then, of course, we work on the positioning, but it’s not only about playing good passes, it’s also about the positioning before the pass.
“His role is quite liberal, he’s not limited in the offensive approach.
“If there’s a need, he can also go back to win the ball behind, but on the pitch sometimes he can play a little bit higher or lower.
“His position can also develop between the left and right side, it just depends on the positioning of the other players.”
While Pogba has struggled to justify his £89million club record fee at United, Kante has more than delivered for Chelsea.
“With N’Golo, he deserves all the recognition he gets,” said Deschamps.
“For a coach, he’s a dream, for his team-mates as well. He’s always the first to be picked in training routines. He’s an engine in the squad.
“It’s about what he does on the pitch, because you can be as humble as you like, but if you don’t have the quality on the pitch, you don’t get that reputation.
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“Yes he’s humble, he’s a nice guy, and as a coach it’s a privilege to have a player like that, and also for the whole squad.
“When we have training sessions, if the players have to choose a player among them, N’Golo is always one of the first chosen.
“He’s not the most expressive guy, vocally expressive, but what he does on the pitch is really essential for the French team and all teams where he has played and plays now.”
France goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris also heaped praise on Kante, but stopped short when asked if his compatriot was a potential winner of the Ballon d’Or.
“It’s too early to speak about that, but we know N’Golo is one of the best in his position,” said Lloris.
“He’s had a really fantastic development in the Premier League and also with the national team.
“On a human level he’s always himself and he brings his unique personal touch to the squad.”