With 3 goals and 3 assists in the past two games, as well as 18 goals+assists on the season, Thauvin is the name on everyone’s lips. Putting several tough seasons behind him, Thauvin has emerged as the go-to man for Marseille, this season. After years of moments of brilliance mixed with disappointing performances, Flotov has become more consistent and efficient in front of goal. With World Cup qualifying approaching, Didier Deschamps is set to announce the selection for the national team next week. Will Thauvin be a part of that fabled list? In this article, I will look at reasons why he should be selected, and reasons why he may be left off the list.
Photo taken by Yannick Parienti – om.net
Reasons why Thauvin would be selected
- He has been effective throughout the season
The issue with Thauvin has always been consistency. While his talent has always been apparent, he has always had trouble finding goals and assists. During the 2014-15 season, he would run hard every game, and get a lot of the ball, but failed to find the net very often (9 goals+assists for the entire season). His following Newcastle seasons were even worse, where he struggled to even get on the field. Back at Marseille, he has emerged as a leader, both on the score sheet and on the field, week after week. Since the beginning of the season, Thauvin has been consistently playing well. This newfound consistency displays maturity in his game, and an ability to make a difference at any time. He has also produced 18 goals across all competitions, which has allowed OM to remain in the upper lfight of Ligue 1. Consistency is important for the national team, as the players have less practice and games to find their rhythm.
- He has a good temperament
This may seem like a weak excuse, but it is important. The French national team has consistently suffered from poor attitudes and fighting within the ranks of players. With such little time for national teams to gel, on and off the field, having the right mix of personalities is crucial to developing a team spirit. Thauvin has endured tough seasons, and been endlessly criticized by Marseille fans, through the years. Despite all this, he took a pay cut to return to l’OM, as he loved the club too much to say no. After the abuse he took from the fans, one would expect him to feel bitter. Instead, he returned for more, and has proved to the club and its supporters that he is worthy of the jersey. This never-say-die attitude is crucial to have in l’Équipe de France, for both Thauvin and his teammates. His attitude and drive, in the face of adversity, would set an example to his teammates, and be crucial in maintaining the relationship between the national team and the fans.
- Deschamps has the opportunity to try out new players
With France 3 points ahead in the World Cup qualifying group, and playing Luxembourg, this is the ideal time where Deschamps can take risks with players. There is enough talent in the rest of the team for Deschamps to give a couple youngsters a chance. Why not Thauvin? He has the ability to make a difference against the Luxembourg defense, and will be playing with talented teammates. The friendly against Spain, several days after the Luxembourg game, also offers a game where Thauvin can enter and take on a tough opponent. After this next set of games for France, qualifying will become tenser, and Deschamps will begin finalizing his list. Now is the time to see if Thauvin is a good fit.
Reasons why Thauvin would NOT be selected
- Thauvin still has a lot to prove
While Thauvin has shined this season, he has struggled against the big teams of France (PSG, Monaco, Lyon, Nice). Thauvin has proven he can be reliable this season, but was less effective in the big games this season. Those are the games that Deschamps focuses on, as it puts players in high-pressure game environments, similar to international tournaments. With Thauvin having less of an impact during those games, Deschamps may feel that he needs more time to improve, and is not ready for the national team yet. If Thauvin can’t do it against PSG and Monaco, some will argue that he is not ready to play against teams like Spain.
- France has too many wingers
If there is one sector where France has plenty of candidates, it is the right and left wing positions. Players like Martial, Griezmann, Payet, Dembélé, Lemar, Coman, and Sissokho have all played wing for France within the past year. While players like Griezmann and Payet can play in the central position, it still leaves several players vying for only two spots. With France needing reinforcements at striker and around the defense, Deschamps may need to prioritize other players ahead of Thauvin, because of their position. No point in having 5 wingers if you don’t have a left back on your roster.
Deschamps will release his list of players on Thursday, March 16. I personally feel that Thauvin will be selected, given his run of form this season. He has the attitude that Deschamps wants in his team. Let us hope I am right!