Emmanuel Petit: I can’t understand why England have not won more silverware

The World Cup winner has tackled the biggest issues facing England and France heading into the tournament.


In 1998 and 2002, the French team I was involved in won the World Cup and European Championship double and this is the top target of this current squad. These French players really want to put their own names in the history of football, and I believe they’ve got a great chance to do it at this summer’s Euros.

If you look at the French team over the last 25 years, they’ve either been winning trophies or in finals of tournaments. That is the main question I have about the English side.

They have been so talented through a number of generations, why on earth have you they not won silverware?

I have no clue how it hasn’t happened.

England have a lot of talented players now too, and the manager has tough decisions to make.

For me, if I were Gareth Southgate, I’d play a 4-1-4-1, with Marcus Rashford on the left, and Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount, with a holding midfielder, Harry Kane up-front and the back four. This is the kind of England team I want to see.

We used to have this problem in France too. We had a lot of good players, but they were missing the mentality to win trophies. But, that has all changed.

The only hiccup was a brief two or three year nightmare period when the players nearly rioted under Raymond Domenech.

But, ever since Didier Deschamps took over the team in 2012, he has got them playing winning football – even if I don’t agree with the style of it. He’s made them a unit and they need to continue to do that at the Euros. They have the quality to be even better than what we’ve seen before too.

The harder, the better for France

It’s better for France that they have a difficult group at the Euros with Portugal, Germany and Hungary, because every time we’ve had an average group at a big tournament we tend to get sloppy. They get out of the group sure, but don’t play very well to do so. But, the fact that we play some very big teams here – contenders to win the tournament – is the best preparation for us if we are to win the competition.

Mentality, we have to get straight into competitive mode from the first kick-off. We don’t have the luxury to drop points at the beginning. We have to be ready from the very start.

That’s good for the players and the French fans too, as you need to be under pressure from the get-go if you want to perform at the highest level.

I’d leave Giroud on the bench

I would have Karim Benzema up front, if it was my choice. I wouldn’t have Kylian Mbappe as a central striker, I’d keep him out on the left. That is his best position.

Of course he can play through the middle if need be, however, he is better out on the left to open up defences – especially when we play likes of Germany, who like to keep things tight defensively.

Olivier Giroud could also start up front, because he presents something different. But, I would keep him on the bench and bring him on.

Elsewhere, Wissam Ben Yedder has had a great season for Monaco, he has performed very well for them. But, I’m still wondering if he has the capacity to step up to the level required to be in the national team.

Monaco play in a 4-4-2 system, which suits him, but France don’t use that formation. I believe he needs someone alongside him to play at his best. I just don’t believe Ben Yedder works as a lone striker.



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