Liverpool defender Mamadou Sakho is to be handed the captain’s armband for France when they take on Norway this evening in a friendly ahead of the World Cup.
Sakho has just finished his first season at Anfield after making a £15m switch from PSG to Merseyside last summer, and with Tottenham goalkeeper Hugo Lloris rested this evening, the defender has the honour of leading his country.
The France boss Didier Deschamps is quoted by various sources, saying: “It is for a number of reasons – for what he does on and off the pitch.
“He is captain because I can rely on him.”
Sakho, along with the rest of the Liverpool defence this season, has come in for a vast amount of criticism as the Reds leaked 50 goals in the Premier League, which in part meant they fell short of their first league title in 24 years this season – though that title challenge was unexpected.
The Liverpool defence is likely to undergo a few changes this summer, particularly in full back positions – and the club is reported to be open to offers for vice-captain Daniel Agger, Sakho’s main rival for a place in the side at centre-back.
Manager Brendan Rodgers has highlighted that a lack of concentration has been a big problem for Liverpool defensively, whilst some have suggested there has been a lack of leadership at the back ever since Jamie Carragher retired.
Sakho was the youngest captain of PSG at the age of 17, coupled with the trust that Deschamps has in him, it’s evident that he has leadership skills – and if Liverpool need a leader at the back, he seems to be the ideal man.
If Rodgers sees him in the same light, then he needs to stick with the Frenchman at the back, give him a consistent run of games, and maybe the back line will settle whilst Sakho can develop a commanding presence amongst his own team-mates as well as the opposition.