Raphael Varane and Paul Pogba are battling to prove their fitness for the World Cup, as France boss Didier Deschamps reveals his Qatar plan.
The France boss said everyone traveling to the final, where Les Bleus will be defending the title they won in Russia, must be able to contribute immediately.
Manchester United centre-back Varane is not expected to play any club football until the Qatar 2022 finals after picking up a leg injury, while Pogba is back in training with Juventus following knee surgery but will not be in a rush to return to action.
“It’s absolutely clear,” Deschamps said in an interview with French website Brut. “I’ve never gone into a big competition with an injured player, although there are some who can come up with examples from 2018 with our full-backs, which were Benjamin Mendy and Djibril Sidibe.
“They were healed. Then it’s about athletic fitness. And between when I made the list and what was supposed to happen, it didn’t happen … there you have it.”
“But going to a big competition with players who are not ready already takes up too much attention and for those who have to play, it also monopolizes the medical staff. I think we have to go away with valid and capable players.”
Pogba is still waiting to make an impact on the pitch in his second spell at Juventus after rejoining the Serie A giants from Manchester United.
There is a strong desire from Deschamps for the midfielder to be on the plane to Qatar and Pogba could return to club action in the coming weeks.
The coach has a lot of sympathy for the 29-year-old player, who has recently had a difficult time outside of football.
In August, an investigation was launched into allegations that Pogba was the target of an extortion plot by his brother Mathias and childhood friends who demanded a sum of 13 million euros.
Mathias Pogba and four others have been charged in connection with the matter and Deschamps considers Paul Pogba a “victim”.
“Yes, it was a very difficult time for him,” said Deschamps.
“I speak to him regularly. He is someone who has a great mentality. Obviously, when it comes to his injury, it is not easy to manage. But mentally he is fine.”