France head coach Didier Deschamps says he’s ‘happy’ about Olivier Giroud’s resurgence at Chelsea and hopes the striker can continue to impress in the lead-up to the European Championships.
Giroud, 34, was struggling for regular minutes under Chelsea boss Frank Lampard and has been vocal with his demands for more game-time in order to nail down a place in Deschamps’ squad for next summer’s tournament.
In a candid interview with Telefoot last month, Giroud said he would be forced to strongly consider his future if his opportunities were still limited by the time the January transfer window came around.
However, Lampard has repeatedly underlined his desire to keep hold of Giroud and the attacker has stepped up in Chelsea’s recent matches, scoring six goals in his last four games for the club.
Giroud has had his doubters in England and back home across the Channel – even after playing a starring role in France’s triumphant 2018 World Cup campaign – but Deschamps has kept faith throughout and once again defended the veteran forward at his press conference on Monday.
‘We often talk about Olivier, he is often criticised. A lot of the things said about him are unfair and he has this strength of character,’ he said.
‘When we call on him he scores and when he doesn’t score he is still useful.
‘It’s a much happier time for him. Good for him, it was not the case when he came in selection.
‘What other people say, everyone is free to think what they want. Just look at the number of goals he has scored.’
Deschamps continued: ‘I’m happy for him and I’m hoping it can last.
‘If Lampard decides to have him play three days a week, that’s not ideal either.
‘The happy medium is good, that he takes advantage of this ideal period for him.
‘He is one of the very best attackers at international level.’
Deschamps spoke to the media after discovering France’s opponents for their 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign.
The holders were placed in Group D where they were joined by Ukraine, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kazakhstan.