World Cup 2018: 5 players who can be France's 4th choice centre-back
- The battle to be the 4th choice centre-back for France at the World Cup is hotting up.
The current French national team is rightly being seen as one of the favourites for the World Cup. The attacking prowess possessed by the team in the form of players like Atletico Madrid's Antoine Griezmann, Dimitri Payet (Olympique Marseille), Kylian Mbappe (PSG), Olivier Giroud (Chelsea) and many more will be the envy of many nations going to Russia.
The midfield is not too shabby either with players like Chelsea's N'Golo Kante, Manchester United's Paul Pogba expected to dominate the middle of the park, providing a screen for the back four while at the same time pushing forward to support the very good attack.
The defence, especially the centre, promises to be interesting. FC Barcelona's Samuel Umtiti & Real Madrid's Raphael Varane are, injury-permitting, guaranteed to be on the plane to France and with the Achilles injury suffered by Arsenal's Laurent Koscielny in last night's Europa League semi-final against Atletico Madrid, PSG's Presnel Kimpembe is now expected to be manager Didier Deschamps' third choice centre-back.
Among the nations in the World Cup, few can compete with Les Bleus when it comes to central defensive options as the manager has a slew of quality replacements to call upon.
Here are 5 potential centre-backs that would be hoping to make the Mundial as the fourth-choice:
#5 Dayot Upamecano (RB Leipzig)
The 19-year-old Frenchman has been one of the standout youngsters in the Bundesliga this season and getting to the World Cup as a full-fledged international will be a confirmation of his incredible talent.
Standing at 1.85m, the graduate of Valenciennes FC’s youth set up is widely regarded as one of the most exciting center-backs in France under the age of 23.
Blessed with pace, good reading of the game as well as an intelligence belying his age, the youngster has become an integral element of the defence for his German club, RB Leipzig.
Upamecano possesses physical and technical qualities that allow him to perform brilliantly as an efficient and offensively involved centre-back, or, if the occasion demands it, as a defensive midfielder (a role he played many times for former club RB Salzburg).
This skill that he possesses to be able to play in both positions means he will be a good option to have for Les Bleus in case of injuries to a defensive midfielder or any of the first-choice centre-backs.
His ability to play out of the back means he can become Deschamps' go-to option if the manager wants to switch to a 3-man central defence.
Like some of the other names on this list, Upamecano has been capped at junior levels for France but could be set to win his first senior cap in friendlies before the World Cup.