Barcelona forward will not be selected for Les Bleus on the basis of past performances, his national team coach says
He was player of the tournament and top scorer at Euro 2016, then World Cup winner with France two years later, but at 29 seems to have lost some of his spark.
Deschamps believes it may return, and on the eve of a League of Nations clash with Croatia, he said Griezmann’s class has no doubts, although his most recent form leaves a lot to be desired.
Griezmann was not impressive in Sunday’s goalless draw against Portugal in Paris, although he was among a host of star names who failed to live up to their billing, including Cristiano Ronaldo.
France head coach Deschamps said of Griezmann: “I know you’re watching the last game, but look at his stats: 81 caps, 32 goals, 21 assists. It speaks for itself. ”
He added, however: “It doesn’t guarantee him anything, like some other players who could have done better against Portugal. I know his talent and what he can bring to the team. ”
Former French midfielder Alain Giresse questioned Griezmann’s role against Portugal, which he saw as a deeper-than-normal position.
Deschamps is aware that there is a lot of talk surrounding the man who scored twice and had two assists in France’s run to World Cup glory two years ago.
Griezmann’s numbers were down at Barcelona last season, with his conversion rate of what Opta defines as ‘big chances’ disappointing 38.46%, after being 47.37 in his last year at the Atletico and around 60% in each of the previous two campaigns.
“Antoine’s position, I can talk to him about it, we’ve been doing it for a while,” Deschamps said.
“I know very well where he is the most effective, the most influential. It is in a central position obviously. It lacks rhythm, you know why. So he needs a little time, he was much better in the second half compared to the Premier [against Portugal]. He is an attacking player but, as he runs a lot, he is sometimes an attacking midfielder. ”
Deschamps expressed his admiration for Croatian playmaker Luka Modric, who drove his country’s race to the World Cup final against France in Moscow.
“Luka Modric is a great player and Croatia is much stronger with him, he is very influential in the team, he is a leader on and off the pitch,” said Deschamps.
“He didn’t get the Ballon d’Or by chance. If Croatia reached the World Cup final in Russia, it’s a lot because of Luka Modric. On top of that, he’s someone I really like, I have met him several times. , he is a good person, very humble and honest.
“We’re going to watch him, like every time we play against a key player. His position is not very defined, but whenever he has the ball he can improve Croatia’s game. “