Schneiderlin to replace Ribery for France - what will he bring and does he deserve it?

Arsenal v Southampton 2012 Pregame with Schneiderlin

We take a look at the French midfield players on offer in the Premier League, to see if the Southampton man deserves a place in Brazil.

Franck Ribery's withdrawal from the France squad is likely to be both a huge pill to swallow for Les Bleus and their fans, and a disappointment to all World Cup spectators who hoped to see the player voted third best in the world at the 2013 Ballon d'Or.

It is almost impossible to replace a player as important to France as Ribery, yet Didier Deschamps has had to decide who he wants to bring in in place of the Bayern star.

Given that Lyon playmaker Clement Grenier is also injured, Southampton midfielder Morgan Schneiderlin, despite never having featured for the national team, is set to join up as part of France's twenty-three, alongside Newcastle target Remy Cabella.

Arsenal were credited with an interest in Schneiderlin earlier on in the year, but does he deserve such attention?

Below we look at the other French Premier League midfielders that may have been in contention for a place in Deschamps squad, including Newcastle's Moussa Sissoko, who was already selected, and Samir Nasri, who would appear to be the most natural selection if he hadn't fallen out with Deschamps, to see what the Saints player can offer.

  TeamPosGoalsGoal Assistmins / Ontarget Att Assistmins / Accurate PassAppsMins
Samir Nasri Man City MF 7 8 56.77 1.44 34 2,498
Hatem Ben Arfa Newcastle MF 3 3 93.07 2.95 27 1,303
Moussa Sissoko Newcastle MF 3 6 61.92 2.77 35 3,034
Mathieu Flamini Arsenal MF 2 0 802.00 1.56 27 1,604
Morgan Schneiderlin Southampton MF 2 1 131.71 1.61 33 2,766
Etienne Capoue Spurs MF 1 0 343.00 1.93 12 686

Schneiderlin is obviously a very different player to both Ribery and Grenier, sitting further back in midfield and a more destructive individual akin to the likes of Tottenham's Etienne Capoue and Arsenal's Mathieu Flamini. He is however significantly more capable as a playmaker than both those players, able to orchestrate play from a position where he has a little more time on the ball. His accurate passing stat is impressive considering only Flamini and Nasri, two top four players, can better it, and though it is clear he is less attacking minded than the out of favour Man City midfielder, and Newcastle pair of Ben Arfa and Sissoko, he managed to put forward decent stats in assisting on target attempts for his team. 

  TeamPosmins / Won Tacklemins / Duel Wonmins / Unsuccessful Touchmins / TouchesAppsMins
Morgan Schneiderlin Southampton MF 31.79 13.05 89.23 1.15 33 2,766
Etienne Capoue Spurs MF 34.30 13.19 228.67 1.21 12 686
Moussa Sissoko Newcastle MF 59.49 15.64 64.55 1.48 35 3,034
Mathieu Flamini Arsenal MF 64.16 18.87 94.35 1.15 27 1,604
Samir Nasri Man City MF 75.70 22.71 73.47 0.99 34 2,498
Hatem Ben Arfa Newcastle MF 186.14 12.41 34.29 1.37 27 1,303

Schneiderlin's strength isn't really in going forward though, despite being capable doing so. The data above shows that that he specialises in inhibiting the opponents play before distributing possession, winning more tackles per minute than any other French midfielder in the league. The Southampton player also won more duels than anyone else. Finally, he had more touches on the ball per minute than anyone except Nasri, indicating that he is happy to receive it and dictate play, while his ability to avoid poor touches also indicates a man comfortable in possession.

It is clear that Schneiderlin has had an excellent season for Southampton, and though he may not be able to adequately replace Franck Ribery, he more than deserves a shot at international football.

The worrying thing for Southampton, who are already looking like suffering in terms of departures over the summer, is that the Frenchman will surely put himself back in the shop window for the likes of Arsenal if he gets the chance to impress in Brazil.

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