Is Kylian Mbappe the right choice for France captain?

The start of the Euro 2024 qualification campaign brings new beginnings for many teams on the international stage. It’s a chance for Europe’s finest to dust themselves down after the last World Cup cycle, and prepare to go again for continental glory.

World Cup runners-up France are a side facing more upheaval than most ahead of the Euro 2024 qualifiers. The main change is that long-time goalkeeper and captain Hugo Lloris has retired from international football, paving the way for a new star to take on the responsibility of leading Les Bleus to a tournament where they will be strong favourites in the football betting tips

The chosen star is Kylian Mbappe, who has been handed the captain’s armband by manager Didier Deschamps. It’s a bold decision to bestow such responsibility on Mbappe. After all, as the national team’s most talismanic player, he already carries a lot of pressure on his shoulders every time he takes to the field in a France shirt.

“Kylian meets all the requirements to have this responsibility,” Deschamps said. “On the field as in the life of the group, by being a unifying element.”

It’s clear that Mbappe has the faith of his manager, and no one will understand the 24-year-old’s impact in the dressing room better than the coach who has helped nurture him into one of international football’s biggest stars. 

It will be interesting to see how Mbappe copes with the pressure of captaining the side. France’s Euro 2024 qualification group contains the Netherlands, Greece, the Republic of Ireland and Gibraltar, so it will be important that they are on it right from the outset. Any slip-ups could allow plucky challengers like Greece or Ireland to pinch a place in Germany next summer. 

Part of Mbappe’s responsibility as captain will be to pick France up from their devastating World Cup final defeat back in December. Having got back in the game against the odds through the Paris Saint-Germain man’s brilliance, to then lose the match on penalties must have been excruciating for the French players, especially those who weren’t part of the winning squad in Russia back in 2018.

France have a core of young talent, which means that they should still be highly motivated to get their hands on the European Championship trophy. Indeed, their performance at Euro 2020 was somewhat under par, losing to Switzerland on penalties in the round of 16. Add in their loss to Portugal in the final of Euro 2016 on home soil, and it’s fair to say that France have unfinished business in the European Championships. 

While Mbappe is young and has little experience of captaining a side, it could prove to be a masterstroke by Deschamps. Having such responsibility will compel Mbappe to bring his absolute best to every match, and that in turn should inspire the rest of the team.

We saw at the World Cup just how influential Mbappe can be on any given day, and being handed the armband is a challenge to the 24-year-old to bring that best form on a more regular basis.

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