He missed his big first in March due to injury but this time, Wesley Fofana is there. The central defender of Chelsea (22 years old) has been retained by Didier Deschamps for the next matches of the Blues in the qualifiers of the Euro, against Gibraltar on June 16 in Portugal and against Greece, on June 19, at the Stade de France.
An enchanted parenthesis after a difficult season, both individually with two big knee injuries and collectively, Chelsea having failed to do better than 12th in the Premier League. "Of course I'm very happy to be here, it's also sure that the season with Chelsea has not been easy," he told a news conference. But that's behind me. I think of the France team, it's a pure joy to be here. It went very fast, it's crazy for me. These are childhood dreams come true. It's crazy, but I'm determined to dream, to continue. I will give my best to do even more. »
A team of France that has had its favors compared to the Espoirs, who play the Euro this summer (June 21-July 8 in Romania and Georgia), and in relation to... to Côte d'Ivoire, which had tried to recover it. "I wouldn't say the choice was easy, but I'm French, the France made my education, it's the logical choice, the choice of the heart," he said. I had exchanges with the coach (Jean-Louis Gasset) but I am French first and foremost and I always hoped to play for the France team one day. Compared to the Euro hopes, I wish them the best but we're not going to lie, I'd rather be in A (laughs). »
"The competition is crazy, but it's going to serve us all"
Fofana arrives in the France team in a sector and position, central defender, where there is no shortage of talent. At Les Bleus, with the international retirement of Raphaël Varane, the potential holders of the position are Ibrahima Konaté and Dayot Upamecano, while Axel Disasi and Jules Koundé are also in ambush. "It's not going to be easy, the competition is crazy... We are fortunate to have this pool in France. But it will serve us all to give the best in club and selection. And in the end, may the best win. It will push me to give it my all to have minutes and try to have my place. »
📍First arrival at the castle for Wesley Fofana! pic.twitter.com/DDucXz3oBd
— France ⭐⭐ Team (@equipedefrance) June 9, 2023
The key word of this great first for Fofana, who ensures that he can play in all positions in central defense and whatever the system: enjoy and gain experience. "Even if I don't have the chance to play my first minutes, I will try to improve even more to scratch minutes. You have to be realistic, keep your feet on the ground, not rush. If I have my chance, I will do everything to return his confidence in the coach (...) When we arrive in the France team, we are a little behind, we look at the elders, we wait to make our place little by little. But I'm not a shy person. And on the field, I'm a dog, I have the slab and I want to win everything. »
It starts with these two important matches, with perhaps the key to first appearances in Blue. "You have to do the job and not believe that you are on holiday, the coach said when we arrived at the castle. Everyone is focused and determined, and then we can go to rest, release what we have to release, party on vacation. A holiday that will necessarily be more beautiful as a new French international.