French football website football365.fr have questioned Arsenal defender Laurent Koscielny’s place in Didier Deschamps’ side after the exciting emergence of Manchester City’s Eliaquim Mangala and the form of experience central defender Jeremy Mathieu.
The report states: 'After losing his place to Varane and Sakho due to his red card in the first-leg against Ukraine, Koscielny was third-choice in the central defensive position for the Blues during the World Cup. But with the emergence of Mangala and Mathieu, the hierarchy is blurred within the French squad.'
The situation should become more clear at the weekend, however, due to the absence of first-choice pick Mamadou Sakho. Raphael Varane, who signed a new six-year deal with Real Madrid last month, will likely be put next to the man who Didier Deschamps sees, at this moment in time, as the third-choice centre-back in the French side.
Out of the three, Koscielny is by far the most experience with regards to the national team set-up. The 29-year-old Arsenal defender has won 21 caps for France since his debut in 2011, while Jeremy Mathieu has made just three in the same time period. Mangala, who made his debut in the summer of 2013, has already won the same amount of caps as the Barcelona man too.
Under usual circumstances, I don’t think Koscielny’s place in the squad would be in doubt. However, since the game against Portugal is classed as an international friendly then it may give Deschamps the urge to go with youth.
However, if Mangala does play well while Koscielny is left on the bench then the same question will no doubt be asked a million times over in the international press.