On Thursday afternoon, the France under-21 team take on Kazakhstan in Astana and Chelsea new boy Kurt Zouma is set to start in the centre of defence and follow in the footsteps of his role models Raphael Varane and Eliaquim Mangala. He will star in a team that also features Arsenal striker Yaya Sanogo and Athletic Bilbao’s impressive youngster Aymeric Laporte.
Speaking to L’Equipe while away with his France teammates, he was really positive in describing his ambitions. He is really happy to be at Chelsea and even without playing, he knows he has to learn from training beside John Terry and Gary Cahill. He reminded reporters that he had to bide his time in the Saint-Etienne squad before breaking through, and it is the same situation again.
In his international careers, he wants to follow both Varane and Mangala, who now play in main France team. Both the Real Madrid and Manchester City defenders both paid their dues in the under-21 side. From the way the France international setup works, very rarely does a player just jump past the under-21s. Even though Varane was a regular for Jose Mourinho’s Madrid side, he still played 15 games for les Espoirs, the hopes.
Zouma has played at every level from under-16s to now beginning his under-21 career. He already has two caps, and will likely play another 15-20 games before he will be considered for a place in the full squad.
As he develops further at Chelsea and gains experience with the under-21s, Zouma’s goal of playing at Euro 2016 will become closer to reality. He finished by saying that he knows the competition for places will be tough, but it’s the objective he gives himself and he doesn’t think that the opportunity is very far away.
Playing in the Premier League, under the guidance of Jose Mourinho, Zouma has put himself in a very strong position to make a run towards Didier Deschamps squad in two years’ time. The player is determined, and he has put himself in the best possible position to be successful.