Emmanuel Petit: Olivier Giroud deserves to start for France

It's fair to say France are spoiled for choice up front, but Manu says Chelsea's Olivier Giroud should lead the line for them in Russia...


Didier Deschamps has so many good players, his main problem is knowing who to start.

Since the last World Cup in Brazil there has been a lot of change to the squad. Deschamps has changed systems and players, so what France needs now is stability to build confidence.

This team is young and has a great future ahead. If they avoid injuries and keep doing what they have been, they will gain experience and emotional maturity at this World Cup, and they will get to know each other much better, which will be great for them in the future.

The expectation is that France should make the semi-final at least.

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The main talking point in France about this team is who Didier Deschamps will start up front.

The French squad has really good players in every position. We can play in three different tactical systems, but we are still looking for the soul of this team. Adding individuals together does not make a team. The most difficult thing for this team is to get a collective vision.

We need a clear first team from this group.

For me, this is one of the biggest challenges for Deschamps, finding the first eleven from such a talented group, but he must stick with his decision even if there is a lot of criticism and people are not happy with it.

<> at Stade de France on March 23, 2018 in Paris, France.

We’ve got Griezmann, Giroud, Mbappe, even Fekir can play up front, so we have four different players who can play the same position, but Giroud is the only one who offers something different. His profile is completely different to the other strikers.

Giroud has also shown the kind of character, spirit and mentality that this team needs. Individuals are very important to any group, but what we really need to get a team mentality among this group.

He is a good teammate. Every time he wears the shirt, you know what you can – and what you cannot – expect from him. What we can he expect from him, he does that very well.

Starting him means the team will play in a different style than with the other forwards. Of course, his teammates try to reach him with the ball on the ground, but this is not his main quality.

I do not know for sure who is going to start up front, but I know Didier Deschamps well and I believe that he rewards players when they justify his confidence in them and show good spirit on the pitch.

This is exactly what Giroud has done.

He has had a good recent scoring run for the national team, so, even if he makes mistakes and is not as technically gifted as other players in the squad, you know he’s going to rise to the occasion and he will score goals.

I believe he will start for France in the World Cup, with Griezmann or another forward playing off him.

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What do you think?