France manager Didier Deschamps defends England coach Gareth Southgate ahead of FIFA World Cup clash

France manager Didier Deschamps has defended England boss Gareth Southgate ahead of the two sides’ FIFA World Cup quarter-final clash on Saturday, 10 December.

The world champions, Les Bleus, face their toughest test yet at the World Cup in Qatar.

They are up against a Three Lions side that are unbeaten in four fixtures, joint-top scorers with 12 goals.

Southgate oversaw a semi-final finish at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and led England to the final of the European Championships last year.

However, the 52-year-old has regularly been criticized by some fans for his style of play and decision-making over his squad.

Deschamps has defended the England coach ahead of their quarter-final meeting, saying that the former Middlesbrough manager is underappreciated.

He said (via the Evening Standard):

“I very much like Gareth, we have met on a number of occasions and have talked about a number of things.”

Deschamps continued:

“If I am understood correctly, not everyone appreciates him so much in his own country. That isn’t because he wasn’t a good footballer himself; he had a long and distinguished career and he is also a very good coach.”

The France coach concluded by insisting that Southgate has coached the Three Lions to impressive results.

“He has enabled England to get some very good results over the years and I very much like him.”

One standout performance during his tenure was a 2-0 victory over longtime rivals Germany in the last 16 of the 2020 Euros.

Southgate has also overtaken 1966 FIFA World Cup-winning manager Sir Alf Ramsey’s record of nine wins in major tournaments.

However, a win over Deschamps’ men on Saturday would likely be the biggest accomplishment of the Three Lions boss’ managerial career thus far.

Southgate claims that England will be testing themselves against the very best in France at the FIFA World Cup

Compliments are swinging both ways ahead of England’s meeting with France.

Southgate has claimed that Les Bleus offer his Three Lions the chance to test themselves against the very best.

Deschamps’ side are the reigning world champions and have been in fine form this campaign, winning three and losing one of their four fixtures.

Their frontman Kylian Mbappe is the tournament’s top goalscorer with five goals in four appearances.

France’s FIFA World Cup squad is brimming with talent, including Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele, Aurelien Tchouameni, and Raphael Varane.

Southgate alluded to this, saying (via Sky Sports):

“They’re world champions with an incredible depth of talent and outstanding individual players. They’re very difficult to play against and score goals against, so it’s a fantastic challenge and a brilliant game to prepare for.”

He added:

“It’s a great game to be involved with and to test ourselves against the very best.”

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