A brilliant Xl of players who failed to make France’s Euro 2020 squad
From Raphael Varane to Paul Pogba to Kylian Mbappe, France have arguably the strongest squad in international football right now.
Les Blues are widely regarded as the favourites to win Euro 2020, having made the final in 2016 and triumphed at the World Cup to years later.
We’ve compiled an Xl of players who didn’t make Didier Deschamps’ final 26-man squad, arranged in a 4-3-3 formation.
GK: Illan Meslier
Meslier has enjoyed a brilliant debut season in the Premier League, becoming the first goalkeeper under the age of 21 to record nine clean sheets in a single season in the competition, extending his own record to 11 in recent weeks.
While we could have included Alban Lafont or Alphonse Areola, our Leeds United supporting boss didn’t really give us any choice…
RB: Theo Hernandez
Admittedly, Hernandez isn’t actually a right-back, but this seems to be one area of relative weakness for the French side.
Despite registering seven goals and five assists for AC Milan in Serie A this season, the left-back won’t be linking up with his brother Lucas at the Euros.
The fact that he once turned down a call up to France Under-21s in order to go on holiday to Marbella may explain why he is yet to play for the senior side.
CB: Dayot Upamecano
France are particularly well-stocked at centre-back, with Raphael Varane, Jules Kounde, Presnel Kimpembe, Clement Lenglet and Kurt Zouma all selected.
Such is the competition, Manchester City’s Aymeric Laporte recently switched his international allegiance from France to Spain after struggling to break into Didier Deschamps’ squad.
Upamecano is regarded as one of Europe’s best young defenders and is set to join Bayern Munich in a £37million deal but still didn’t make the cut.
CB: Ibrahima Konate
Upamecano’s centre-back partner at RB Leipzig, Konate is yet to represent France at senior level but will play in the European Under-21 Championship this summer.
The 21-year-old has struggled with injuries this season but has a bright future ahead of him and is about to join Liverpool in a £30.5million deal, if reports are to be believed.
LB: Ferland Mendy
Mendy has been in impressive form for Real Madrid in 2020-21, usurping Marcelo as Zinedine Zidane’s first-choice left-back.
The 25-year-old probably would have made the squad but has been struggling with injury problems and will now be watching the Euros from his sofa.
“The state of his injury is not good at the moment,” Deschamps said. “We talked to him and the doctors, he needs to rest and to recover.”
CM: Eduardo Camavinga
Camavinga made his international debut at the age of 17 years and 303 days in September 2020, becoming France’s third-youngest debutant.
The Rennes midfielder scored his first international goal a month later and has recently been linked with the likes of Real Madrid, PSG, Bayern Munich and Manchester United.
He didn’t make the final squad on this occasion but will undoubtedly go on to play in many major tournaments over the next few years.
CM: Tanguy Ndombele
After a difficult debut season at Tottenham, Ndombele rediscovered his best form in 2020-21 and became a key player under Jose Mourinho.
The 24-year-old may have got miraculously back into Mourinho’s good books but seemingly didn’t do enough to earn Deschamps’ trust.
Spurs team-mate Moussa Sissoko, who has started just 15 Premier League games in 2020-21, has been named in the squad though.
Absolutely no one.
Tanguy Ndombele against Sheffield: pic.twitter.com/9AzlvhB8kI
— The Spurs Web ⚪️ (@thespursweb) May 1, 2021
CM: Houssem Aouar
Having starred for Lyon during their run to the Champions League semi-finals in 2019-20, Aouar was heavily linked with a move to Arsenal last summer.
A deal failed to materialise, but the midfielder didn’t let that affect his performances, providing eight goals and four assists for the Ligue 1 side in 2020-21.
We wouldn’t be surprised if some of Europe’s biggest clubs, and Arsenal, are once again vying for his signature this summer.
RW: Jonathan Ikone
A PSG academy graduate, Ikone joined Lille in 2018 and scored against Albania on his senior international debut in September 2019.
The winger has been one of Lille’s standout performers this season, registering seven goals and seven assists in 47 appearances in all competitions to help fire his side to the brink of the Ligue 1 title.
But that still wasn’t enough to warrant him a place in the France squad ahead of Kylian Mbappe or Ousmane Dembele.
ST: Alexandre Lacazette
The surprise story of France’s squad came in the shape of Karim Benzema’s call-up, six years after the Real Madrid striker’s last appearance for the national team.
While Benzema’s return will undoubtedly be a huge boost to their chances of winning the competition, Lacazette probably wasn’t too happy about it.
The Arsenal striker has scored 13 goals in 30 Premier League appearances in 2020-21 but won’t be playing at the Euros this summer.
LW: Anthony Martial
After missing out on the 2018 World Cup squad, Martial looked set to go to the Euros, only to injure his knee while on international duty at the end of March.
The 25-year-old has recently returned to training at Manchester United, but Deschamps was unwilling to take a risk on a player who hasn’t played in two months.
“Anthony Martial would have been here but he is not available,” Deschamps said. “His condition does not allow it.”
Substitutes: Alphonse Areola, Nordi Mukiele, Wesley Fofana, Maxence Lacroix, Boubakary Soumare, Christopher Nkunku, Florian Thauvin, Allan Saint-Maximin, Alassane Plea