Rabiot confident France youth can be ´positive force´ in World Cup defence

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Adrien Rabiot believes that France’s inexperienced midfield “can be a positive force”, following an impressive showing in the opening fixture against Australia.

Didier Deschamps’ defending champions were ravaged by injury issues in their build-up to the World Cup in Qatar, with midfield duo Paul Pogba and N’Golo Kante among those being forced to watch on from home.

That pairing played an integral part in France’s success in Russia four years ago, leaving a high bar to Rabiot and Aurelien Tchouameni, who started in the win against the Socceroos.

Both impressed with their performance, Rabiot scoring France’s equaliser on the way to a 4-1 win, and he feels the youthfulness of the side can provide a boost.

“I don’t listen or read what is being said. Our midfield is young and less experienced than in previous competitions, that’s a fact. But it can be a positive force. Time and results will tell,” he told ESPN.

“We also need to look at the quality of the players here, and our commitment. For us, even if there is less experience of these situations, there’s still such a strong desire to do well.

“It is important to have players you can rely on, players you can ‘rest’ on. To know that some have more experience, more Champions League games, matters too.

“I like to be there for my teammates. I like to be advising, talking and listening. Helping my teammates to perform and be in the right conditions, physically and mentally, for what we face on the pitch is something I like doing.”

France are among the favourites to go all the way in Qatar, with Rabiot making it clear that his intention is to win – which would see Les Bleus become only the third team to win back-to-back World Cup tournaments after Italy (1934, 1938) and Brazil (1958, 1962).

“When I play a tournament, my target is to win it. I want to win this World Cup,” he declared.

“I don’t know if I will ever play a World Cup again, so we have to go for it and bring the trophy back home.

“We have to give everything, without thinking about anything else. It is now. Otherwise, there is no point being here.

“We have to be serene and be confident in our abilities, but not take anything for granted, like we did against Australia.”

France can secure their spot in the knockout stages with victory against Denmark on Saturday, then finishing the group stage against Tunisia on Wednesday.



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