Didier Deschamps has backed Antoine Griezmann and N’Golo Kante to be at their best by the time the World Cup arrives, heading into Friday’s Nations League clash with Austria.
After a disappointing spell in Barcelona, Griezmann’s transfer to Atletico Madrid did not translate into a quick return to form, while he encountered concerns for fitness for the first time.
In a job that saw him suffer minor injuries, missing two games in 2019-20 against Barcelona, the 31-year-old missed 15 games with Atletti due to a combination of muscle injuries and a forced Covid-19 split.
With that in mind, however, Deschamps believes that a brilliant Les Bleus striker will return to his prime.
“I know him well,” said Deschamps. “He has benefited greatly from playing for Les Bleus. It is not his best time.
“Part of it is physical, and part of it is mental. He ‘s injured for the first time this season. I’ m not saying he ‘s tired.
“This is not his best time, but that doesn’t mean I doubt what he was able to do. I know exactly what he can bring to the team.”
Along with Kylian Mbappe and Adrien Rabiot, who are also out of Monday’s game against Croatia, Kante will miss Friday’s match in Vienna due to a hamstring injury.
The 31-year-old has been out of action for some time at club level for the past three seasons, with ongoing problems preventing him from playing for many minutes at Chelsea.
After missing almost two months of football this past season, Deschamps admits Kante’s resilience needs to be managed, but he will rely on him.
When he is fully fit, any coach wants to see him in his team, ”said Les Bleus’ manager. “As for the deadlines that are ours, let us assure you that you are fully in control of his power.
“Most players have accumulated 60 game seasons. Sometimes, the organizations suffer a bit. His Chelsea coach [Thomas Tuchel] would like to have him a little bit. He has to manage. He’s there, me here.”