Mangala keen to partner Varane for France

France defender Eliaquim Mangala is keen to marshal the centre of defence for his country, ahead of their friendly with Portugal.

Mangala, Raphael Varane and Jeremy Mathieu are all in the mix for the two centre-back roles for coach Didier Deschamps' men, when they take on the Portuguese in Paris on Saturday.

The Manchester City stopper said he would make a strong partnership with Real Madrid's Varane, if Deschamps was to go down that path.

"I know Rapha well. We played together with the France Under-21 team. We know each other well on the pitch, it's true," said Mangala, who has three international caps.

"Now, regarding my position, when you're part of the squad, you have the chance to come regularly. 

"But you only get one opportunity to show what you can do to start. But I don't think it's any different for the other players who are part of this group. 

"There are those who are more experienced in the French team, who have already learned a lot. But apart from that I don't feel any different."

Mangala said he was keen to add to his two starts in the French shirt, and disregarded any talk he was undeserving of a place in the national squad despite some unconvincing Premier League performances this term.

"I deserve my place as much as anyone else who is part of this squad," the 23-year-old said.

"All those in the group have the same ambitions. I was already part of this group before. 

"Those who come here and are among the 23 will of course hope to play. 

"When I was in Porto I wanted to play. Today I'm at City and it's the same. It's the same for everyone. 

"Everyone has ambition and wants to play."