Didier Deschamps remains confident Paul Pogba will be fit to play for France at the World Cup in spite missing the start of the season through injury.
Pogba sustained a knee problem in pre-season after returning to Juventus from Manchester United on a free transfer.
There were early suggestions surgery could see the World Cup winner miss Qatar 2022, but he has opted instead for therapy that aims to ensure a far swifter return.
Pogba is set to again be paired with N’Golo Kante in the France midfield in November, although the Chelsea man has not been without his own injury issues in recent seasons.
“We’re talking about players who are in high demand – two players who have a big experience, leaders,” Deschamps told Le Parisien of the duo.
“It is important that they are there, but we are never safe – hence the need to prepare younger players.
“I am obviously in contact with Paul. His participation in the World Cup, today, is not questioned.”
Antoine Griezmann is another player still seen as key to Deschamps’ plans, despite scoring only three goals in LaLiga last season.
“He’s not a robot. Obviously the head controls the legs,” Deschamps explained. “But every player encounters, sooner or later, a period of playing less well.
“This translates, then, into a loss of confidence.
“Antoine has had high-intensity seasons. Before his physical issue at the beginning of the year [a thigh injury], he had always been spared from injuries during his career.
“A few months earlier, he had changed clubs. External elements may also have impacted it.
“I know him well. He has a big mind. He needed to regenerate and will do everything to return to his best level. He represents a plus for the France team.”
For now the focus is on getting France in the best condition heading into the World Cup, even as former Real Madrid coach Zinedine Zidane continues to be linked to Deschamps’ job.
The France boss, for his part, is not worried, saying: “I’ve always put the France team above me, above everything.
“Today, the place is not free, since I occupy it with my staff. Afterwards, everyone has the freedom to say what he wants and how he wants. On me, it has no impact.
“The interest, today, for the players and the whole squad, is to be efficient at the World Cup. Anything that can defeat this common goal is not necessarily a good thing.” (dpa/NAN)