Depth, injuries and specialist roles – Martial, Lacazette miss out for France
France showcased their extraordinary strength in depth with the naming of their 23-man World Cup squad on Thursday.
There were multiple noteworthy omissions from the group picked by coach Didier Deschamps, who opted against including the likes of Anthony Martial and Alexandre Lacazette.
Injury meant Dimitri Payet, and likely Kingsley Coman, had little chance of earning a spot for Russia 2018.
We take a look at some of the notable names set to be missing for France.
— Equipe de France (@equipedefrance) May 17, 2018
With nine goals in 30 Premier League appearances – 18 of those starts – this season, Martial is perhaps unlucky not to make the final squad. However, the attacker has played mostly out wide for Manchester United and that may have been behind Deschamps' decision to overlook the 22-year-old.
Lacazette produced a stellar finish to the campaign with eight goals in his final 10 games of the season for Arsenal. But the 26-year-old appears to simply be behind the other forwards in France's squad, with his record at international level – three goals in 16, with most of those substitute appearances – and perhaps inability to contribute greatly off the bench seeing him miss out.
A muscle injury suffered in Marseille's Europa League final loss to Atletico Madrid just about ended Payet's hopes of making the squad for Russia. The midfielder would likely have earned a spot if he was fit, but with a recovery time of around three weeks, Deschamps was unwilling to risk the 31-year-old.
️ 33' We'll give all for you, Captain.
— Olympique Marseille (@OM_English) May 16, 2018
The Paris Saint-Germain midfielder has been unable to replicate his club performances at international level, while Deschamps suggested the 23-year-old's unwillingness to play in a deeper role may have cost him a spot, with Sevilla's Steven N'Zonzi preferred instead.
At 21, Coman is sure to get his chance at the World Cup in the future, but surgery on an injured ankle has seen him sidelined since February and Deschamps is seemingly taking no risks with his 23-man squad. Coman – who scored three goals and provided three assists for Bayern Munich this season – had been targeting a mid-May return.