Wesley Fofana, Brice Samba, Khéphren Thuram… Who are the three new Blues squads?
For the Blues’ next two games at the end of March, Didier Deschamps has called up three new players, who could experience their first selection with the French squad during this gathering.
Almost three months after the World Cup final loss to Argentina (3-3, 2-4 on pens), Didier Deschamps broke new ground. On Thursday 16 March, the France coach called three new players who will discover the Blues during the first meeting of the year 2023: Wesley Fofana, Brice Samba and Khéphren Thuram. The luckiest ones will know their first selection against the Netherlands on March 24 or against Ireland three days later, during these matches that count for the Euro 2024 qualifiers. Before seeing them don the tricolor kit, focus on these new internationals .
Brice Samba, the late hatch
At 28 he is the oldest of the new squad. Brice Samba is taking advantage of his excellent season with RC Lens, where he arrived last summer, to try and find a place in France’s new goalkeeping hierarchy. Lensois discovered the very high level late, he participating in only his second season as a starter in the first division. Last year he was instrumental in Nottingham Forest’s promotion to the Premier League. Very successful since the start of the season, he was observed by Franck Raviot, the Blues’ goalkeeping coach, during the match between Lens and Nantes on 19 February.
“Obviously I think of France”, assured Samba last October after a good game against Olympique de Marseille. His presence with the Blues wasn’t obvious: in 2012 he had participated in an internship with the Congo selection. But instead of choosing the same fate as his father – also known as Brice Samba and Congolese international – the Lensois goalkeeper has borne his problems with patience. To hit the field with the Blues, he’ll probably have to bear his problems with patience because Mike Maignan is No. 1 in power following the international retirements of Hugo Lloris and Steve Mandanda. But in this exchange Alban Lafont doubles, already called up by the Blues. “Alban deserved it too, but for what Brice Samba has done since the beginning of the season, it’s interesting to see him with us. Everything speaks for him, so we integrate him and we can see him every day over ten days”justified Didier Deschamps.
Wesley Fofana, with a slight delay
While France have an impressive pool of young centre-backs, Wesley Fofana is perhaps the most promising of them. In November 2020, when he had just signed for Leicester, Didier Deschamps assured him: “He is one of the players we follow“So we had to wait two and a half years to see Fofana called up by the Azzurri. The first fault was a very serious injury in the summer of 2021, a tibia fracture that kept him away from the field for many months. .
Having become the most expensive defender in the world last summer, bought for 81 million euros from Chelsea, Fofana was injured again, this time to his knee, last October. The 22-year-old defender wanted to participate in the World Cup, but once again had to wait. Since his return from injury, Fofana has secured a regular place at Chelsea and is impressing. “I want to be the best in the world at my job“, he announced last August at The Telegraph. An overflowing ambition that will surely help him find his place in the French team.
Chephren Thuram, the heir
There was Lilian Thuram, 1998 world champion. Then Marcus Thuram, finalist at the 2022 World Cup. Now here is Khéphren Thuram, son of the first and little brother of the second. First retained by Didier Deschamps, he saw his good performances in Ligue 1 rewarded with OGC Nice for a year and a half. Trained at AS Monaco, he is already playing his third season with Aiglons and was a must for Espoirs before this call-up to Serie A.
In February 2022, the coach congratulated his former teammate’s offspring after a Coupe de France match between Nice and Marseille: “He has good progress. It’s very interesting, it has a lot of volume.” This volume, Khéphren Thuram uses it wisely as a defensive midfielder where he excels. To the point of stealing the place in the standings from Mattéo Guendouzi. The one who turns 22 on March 26 could be the youngest Thuram to make his debut in the Blues, ahead of his father (22 years and seven months) and brother (23 years and three months).